Three Resume Secrets The Pros Use

  • Article by: KEVIN DONLIN , Star Tribune Sales and Marketing
  • Updated: July 8, 2008 - 3:48 PM

You don't write a resume every day. Not even every month or year, most likely. So you can't be expected to do it flawlessly every time, right? After all, you're not a professional.

 

You don't write a résumé every day. Not even every month or year, most likely. So you can't be expected to do it flawlessly every time, right? After all, you're not a professional.

Well, I am.

My team and I have written or edited nearly 5,000 resumes over the past nine years. And there are a handful of secrets we use to get the job done, and get our clients hired.

Now, for the first time, I'd like to share with you three of my proven methods for writing a resume that gets results. Fast.

Here they are ...

Focus on One Specific Job

I can't tell you how many times I've heard job seekers say, "I want a résumé I can use to apply for many jobs, like Project Manager, IT Manager and HR Manager, for example."

My response: You can't.

Writing a résumé that tries to be all things to all employers is like trying to ride a horse in all directions at once. You'll get nowhere fast.

Before writing one word of your résumé, it's essential that you first choose one job title or function, such as project management. Then aim your résumé in that direction. Every sentence in your résumé should try to convince employers that you are the person to hire for that one job.

But never more than one. Because you'll only end up confusing readers with a "one-size-fits-all" résumé. And a confused mind will always say no. Which can spell doom for your job search.

Use a "Skill Skeleton"

Once you tailor your résumé with one job in mind, try to focus further and come up with a short list of skills to build the entire document around. I refer to this as a "skill skeleton."

Let me explain.

You may be an awesome project manager, for example. But what are the three or four skills that make you so special? Is it your ability to finish projects early and under budget? Your skill at leading others? A knack for negotiating the lowest prices with vendors?

These areas of expertise make up your "skill skeleton." Try to make them a recurring theme throughout your résumé. Emphasize them again and again when describing your success stories on the job and in school.

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