Resumes that Sell You

Your resume does not have to tell everything. It is an appetizer which makes the prospective employer say, "Wow, I have to talk to this person and see how he/she did that!”

Start your resume with a Summary Statement. The Summary Statement goes directly under your name and address and is the first thing the person will read. Most resumes only get 11 to 20 seconds of attention before they are selected or discarded. It is critical, therefore, to grab the reader’s attention with powerful statements or it is unlikely that your job history and accomplishments will even be read. Your Summary Statement defines your overall skills, experience, and personal characteristics.

The first sentence of the summary must state the job title you want! This sets the recruiter’s mind and expectations. If you want to be a sales person, start your summary with something like: "An energetic Business Development Professional with 6 years of experience in chemical sales. Established track record for doubling regional sales in first year." This tells the reader your search objective and a major accomplishment.

Dynamically express personal characteristics. These are the attributes which will distinguish you from someone with similar training and experience such as: "a creative problem-solver, team player, and leader, known for ability to create trust and loyalty with customers."

Key talents. Below the Summary Statement, you can have several columns of key talents, skills, and experience. Use key words important to your type of job and industry.

Accomplishment statements. Never start a sentence with “responsible for.” The recruiter's thought is, “So what! Did he/she accomplish anything?” A good accomplishment statement formula is Problem + Action = Benefit.

Always start with an action verb. Try something like: designed, developed, implemented, maintained, created, resolved, managed, supervised, spearheaded, initiated, salvaged, saved, increased, decreased, etc.

Use quantitative numbers to demonstrate the level of your capability and responsibility. It is important for your prospective employer to appreciate the scope and dollar value of the work you have done. For example, "Supervised/managed a team of 16 people on a $3 million project which saved the client company $500,000."

Sell your benefits. This is your personal sales brochure. Sales are about customer benefits. Go back through each job you listed. Rewrite the description of each one to make 90 percent of what you say an accomplishment and/or benefit to the employer and/or the employer's client. Keep your statements short, concise, and meaningful. You can expand on the details in the interview. The prospective employer wants to know what problems you can solve for him or her.

Education and training. Put all educational data at the very end with degrees earned, name(s) of university, and no graduation date. You may also list career-specific training such as certifications, Six Sigma, SAP, and management training.