Writing Tips

The resume must clearly, concisely and strategically present your qualifications, and show how you can help employers solve the problems they currently face in their business. Your resume should

  • Look impressive.
  • Be easy to read.
  • Catch the recruiter’s eye.
  • Quickly increase your interviews.

Here are some tips how to write it.

  • Your resume needs to convey three things to those who read it:
    1. You have the skills, talent and personal qualities to accomplish those things that are important to an employer.
    2. You have a history of training, accomplishments and/or experience to substantiate this claim.
    3. You will be an asset to the organization insofar as you facilitate the operations, have positive work attitudes and get along with others.
  • With employers, receiving hundreds of resumes you must make sure that your resume hooks an employer’s attention within a 5-second glance. A great way to do this is to use job titles and skill headings that relate to and match the jobs you want.
    Before Resume:
    Accounting / Recordkeeping
    Administrative
    Computer Skills
    After Resume:
    Management of A/R and A/P Accounts
    Computerized Accounting Applications
    Departmental Administration / Recordkeeping
  • Employers make snap judgments when glancing at your resume. The design of your resume must highlight the most important information about your work experience, skills and education. At first glance, this information forms the image that employers have of your skills and abilities.
  • Resume design should get attention but it’s really the content of your resume, the descriptions you include of your skills and abilities, that determine how many interviews you generate–as well as the level of salary offers you receive.
    Typical Verbs:
    Gave work assignments to staff of entry level accounting clerks.
    Power Words:
    Directed workflow, supervised and trained accounting staff performing posting to general ledger, accounts receivable and payable accounts.
  • Another strategy that is extremely important in controlling the image that employers develop about you–is to use Power Words or verbs that match the level of position you want.
    Before Resume:
    Maintained records for accounts
    receivable and accounts payable accounts
    After Resume:
    Managed over 1,000 accounts receivable and payable accounts working directly with the Chief Financial Officer.
  • To beat today’s heavy competition for jobs, it is important that you identify and anticipate the full range of needs each employer faces and show how you can solve those needs.
  • You will generate many more interviews by tweaking your resume and cover letter so that they address the specific skills each employer requests.
  • With the increase in spam and emails containing viruses, when you email your resume, it is best to use a descriptive subject line that compels hiring managers to read your email. Avoid anything that might resemble spam, such as all caps and exclamation points. Include your name, the job title, job reference number (if any) and a few words regarding your qualifications. Example: “Job ref. #1234 –Scott Jones, SAP Professional/ABAP.”
  • According to the Gregg Reference Manual, numbers one through ten should be spelled out, while figures should be used for 11 and higher. Exceptions include numbers used with dates (April 19), percentages (55%), money ($50 million), ratios/proportions (2-to-1) and time (4p.m.). However, some job seekers do not spell out any numbers, because the eye gravitates to numerals, drawing attention to important accomplishments. The main point: be consistent in formatting numbers throughout your resume.
  • Give your most impressive accomplishments prominence by placing them before other, less impressive achievements. Review your list of accomplishments and rank them in order of importance and relevance to your career goal. Employers skimming your resume will see your strongest accomplishments first.
  • Did you know it is incorrect to capitalize job titles on your resume, unless you are using it as part of a header or at the beginning of a sentence? For example, “promoted to sales manager after demonstrating top-ranked performance” is the correct format.
  • When corresponding with employers, use the traditional salutation if the name is known (for example, “Dear Ms. Lisa”). It is always best to address cover letters to a specific person, but if you cannot obtain a name, use “Dear Hiring Manager.” Avoid “Dear Sir or Madam” and “To Whom it May Concern” — both salutations are outdated.
  • Add punch to your resume by using active voice instead of passive voice. If your sentences are written in active voice, they will present you as a doer and achiever. Compare these sentences to see how active voice is more concise and dynamic. Passive: $1.2 million in new products were sold. Active: Sold $1.2 million in new products. Review your resume and look for ways to express your accomplishments in active voice.
  • Keep in mind that the summary helps the hiring manager determine if you should be called for an interview. Weave your top credentials into your summary. Include a synopsis of your career achievements to show that your dedication to results is transferable to your next employer. Explain how you would help solve their problems. Ask yourself, “How will the employer benefit from hiring me?”
  • Focus on your achievements and contributions to show you are a results-oriented worker. Part-time positions, temporary employment, volunteer work and related hobbies are all valid forms of experience.
  • Describe courses, school projects, internships and extracurricular activities that are relevant to your career goal.
  • Incorporate the skills that would be valuable to employers, such as foreign languages, technical capabilities, organizational ability, interpersonal and written communication aptitude, creative problem solving, research ability, customer relations, the ability to rapidly master new concepts, the ability to work independently or as part of a team, and leadership potential.
  • Employers are more interested in what you have done recently or are currently doing. The further back in time you go, the less information you should provide.
  • Resumes should consist primarily of high-impact accomplishments statements that sell the job-seeker’s qualifications as the best candidate.

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