How to Write a Resume

February 2013

Your resume is your #1 marketing tool.  The goal of your resume is to secure an interview with a hiring manager.  The only thing this person will know about you is anything you put in your resume – you want to put your best foot forward!

Quick Tips:
  • Have a good document title or tag line.  John Doe.Accountant.CPA – 5 years SAP.  When a hiring manager gets an email with your resume attached, the first thing they will see is the title of the document, make it catchy – give them a reason to want to open the file.

  • Avoid generic professional summaries.  Most people say the same or similar things in their professional summary “I am looking for a position where I can showcase my professional skills and background” – BLAH!  Try highlighting specific professional goals or quantifiable achievements.  In all reality most hiring managers glaze over this section, so if you want someone to read it make it catchy!

  • Avoid functional resumes.  Your resume should be formatted chronologically with your most recent position listed first.  Functional resumes can sometimes be deemed as deceptive since it’s hard to tell when and how you gained a certain skill set.  You want to show a hiring manager exactly what you’ve done, where you did it and how recently you’ve done it.

  • Use a combination of bullets and paragraphs.  You want your resume to be visually appealing and readable.  Too many short bullets tend to look like you copied and pasted a job description.  One big paragraph is too cumbersome to read.  Using both is an effective way to get the hiring manager to want to read further.

  • Avoid irrelevant or obvious information.  “References Available upon Request” – is unnecessary! Including your references eliminates a step.  Hobbies tend to be moot, unless you are aware that a company has a specific kind of culture and your hobbies may be appealing to them.

  • Tweak your resume for each position you are applying too. Yes, this may seem like a lot of work but it can pay off!  Analyze the job description for which you are applying for.  Make small changes in your resume to reflect any areas where you have experience in the skills that they are looking for.

  • Know your audience!  It’s important to realize that sometimes the person looking at your resume is an Internal Recruiter or HR - they don’t always know all of the skill sets in your field, this means you need to SPELL IT OUT.  Use key words or hot words in your industry.  Make sure to list any and all software systems you have ever worked with.  This is also important if you are posting your resume online.  The way resume searches work is that a hiring manager will enter key words like “CPA and SAP” if you are a CPA and have worked with SAP but don’t list that in your resume you will not come up in their search.

  • Highlight quantifiable achievements.  Where, when and how did you save or make money? Make Money? Win an award?  Employers want to see examples of how your hard work has paid off for other companies.  They want to say – “Wow, look at what John Doe did at XYZ Company; I want him to do that here!”