The secrets to quality resume writing are clear to professional resume writers but pretty foggy to most job seekers. It is a confusing array of advice on the Internet.
This is even more confusing if you throw in advice from job centers, career centers, and instructors. Add to that your mother, father, and brother-in=law who all seem to be job search and resume experts.
The resume is dead?
Periodically, we hear the cry, “the resume is dead.” In the past 30 years, no matter how many times that cry goes out, the resume still is a critical part of your job search.
The career industry is very professional with available education, certifications, and resources. However, there are continual attacks from headline grabbers who insist that the career industry is filled with con artists and scammers.
The reality is a hodge-podge of misinformation, death knolls, and attackers. Job seekers often get more confused and isolated. What’s a person to do who is looking for a way to change his job or find a new one?
Redefine the value of the resume
Too often individuals writing their own resume focus on duties and not results. Instead, take the job description for the role and use that to create quality resume writing.
How do you fill the bill?
If a job description is written correctly, it delineates attributes the company or organization seeks for the position. When you take that job description as resource for your resume, you respond to specific items in the job description with clearly defined points to show you can do the job.
From the job description: “They are responsible for fostering and encouraging local support for the organization by facilitating the generation of resources through fundraisers such as growing projects and other events and activities. They develop relationships with individual donors, churches, businesses and others, and increase the awareness and understanding of global hunger issues in their region.”
Examples from resume
- Volunteer, ABC Organization, Participated in month-long Food Study Tour to India and help raise $500,000 through a local growing project. | 10 years
- Initiator, XYZ Ministries – Cast vision and fundraised for 10 community centers built throughout Asia. | 3 years
- Chair, ABC Food Bank – Organized volunteers and initiated community and church food drives through the year. Oversaw day-to-day operations. | 2 years
From the cover letter:
I am drawn to this position because of the great experiences I had with HIJ projects in the past. In 2007, I was part of a 15-person team that participated in a month-long Food Study Tour to India. I witnessed first-hand the issues of global hunger issues and the impact the HIJ has on lives and communities. My involvement with growing projects for HIJ helps me understand how the work we do here directly changes lives around the world.
Secrets to quality resume writing
- Enjoy the process — Look at quality resume writing as an opportunity to deeply delve into yourself. Build an understanding of the value you have to the market place. All the naysayers want to call the resume dead but they fail to recognize if the resume process succeeds, it builds the story for the rest of the job search.
- If you never use the resume, the in-depth research you inject gives you a better understanding of yourself, your value, and how to better market yourself. You can translate that information created in the resume writing process to your LinkedIn profile, interviews, and negotiating the final offer.
Best resume writing tips
- Be specific — respond to the job description in your resume and cover letter with specifics that show that you understand and have experience doing the job.
- Quantify and Qualify — Numbers and details differentiate between a generic and a value-filled resume.
- Enhance Formatting — While black and white was the standard for years, employers today are drawn to resumes incorporating tasteful color and proper formatting that make the resume attractive and welcoming.
- Don’t be afraid of more than one page — I can’t tell you how many clients and students asked the “one-page resume question.” The successes clients continue to have with 2 and 3 page resumes tells me employers worry less about the page length and want a resume that actually says something.