What Components Go Into Making a Winning Resume?

By Peter Newfield – President of Career-Resumes.com®

When Career Resumes® writes resumes for individuals, certain information about that person must be present in order for it to be successful. Let’s understand what a resume is supposed to do. It’s NOT to get you a job. It’s to get you a phone call inviting you in for an interview. If you go into an interview dressed in jeans, sneakers and a cut off tee shirt, in all probability, you won’t get the job. If you’re not qualified for the job, you won’t get it either. The resume is seen BEFORE you are. It better convey the correct message to the company. If it doesn’t, it’s just like wearing a tee shirt. The following, in my opinion, is what should be on a resume to make it work;

I only want to see an “Objective” on a resume if it is for an entry-level position. As one acquires years of experience, I believe an Objective becomes restrictive giving the impression that “I want to be this…”. as opposed to “I am this….” For example if you say “Seeking a Position as an Accountant………,” what you are really saying is; if you don’t have a job in this company for an Accountant, I’m not interested. If you insist on using an Objective, it would be much better to say “Seeking a position utilizing broad based experience in accounting………………,” which is the same as saying “ If your company is looking for someone with an accounting background, I would be interested in discussing options with you.”

We want to start off a resume with a “Summary of Qualifications,” which is a 3-8 sentence overview on your background, as follows: “A results oriented hospitality industry professional and operations specialist. Strong analytical and planning skills. Demonstrated ability to develop…………”(Strong action words).

Everyone’s talking about “key words.” I put them under a category of “Areas of Strength.” Key words are what it is about the various positions you’ve held over the years that you do really well, such as: Contract Negotiations, Budget Development, Wage & Salary Administration and they should be focused on your industry. If they are not, when someone does a key word search, yours will be passed. Tell me the last time you think a company did a key word search on “gets along well with people”.

Next is “Skills,” which is what you do and how you do it at your current job, and what and how you did it at the previous jobs. I don’t want to see work history back to the beginning of the flood. Maximum 15-20 years. And the way we handle that is in the Summary of Qualifications. We state; “ A senior executive with over 18 years (etc. etc),” and when the resume is written, we don’t go back any further. If they see 30+ years of work experience on a resume, you have about as much chance of getting that interview and/or job as I have of being the next President of the United States.

Now, if you see a position that you think you are qualified for, you and 212 other individuals think so also. How does an organization make the decision as to who to invite in or not to invite in; what separates you from everyone else with the same skills? It’s “Accomplishments.” How did you make money for your current (or last) employer, how did you save them money, increased their efficiency, and reduced their costs. That’s what will make you stand out from your competition. If you don’t think so, think again. Remember that a resume’s function is not to get you a job, it’s to get you a phone call inviting you in. If you get that phone call, you have the opportunity to build on what is in the resume and get into more detail to sell yourself; it’s now up to you. And if you walk into that interview with that “tee shirt,” you know what will happen.

After explaining all of this, the resume’s format (visual presentation) becomes as critical as content. The format for the Internet doesn’t matter, because we convert everything into ‘text”, however, the format for the rest of the world is very important (every job out there is not found on the Internet). If you want that interview, your resume better look as good as you do. Believe me, this is as important, if not more important than the content. When those 212 resumes or more come in on a job posting, you get 15 seconds of fame. The information literally MUST jump off the page and grab the “Gatekeeper’s” attention. The gatekeeper’s job is not to screen paper in, but to screen it out, so it better look great. All of this should be presented in two pages or less, if possible. A senior executive resume could go to three. This resume MUST be a marketing tool, not an obituary.

If you listen to my advice, hopefully, you’ll increase the chances of getting that interview. Who knows, you might even get a great job

For a free critique/price quote, email Career Resumes® at Peter@career-resumes.com.

Peter Newfield is President of Career-Resumes.com®, one of the premier resume writing services in the United States. He is The Resume Expert forBlueSteps.com, ExecutiveRegistry.com, NETSHARE.com, DirectEmployer.com and the former Resume Expert for Monster.com, Spencer Stuart Talent Network and the Career Center on AOL. View samples at: www.career-resumes.com