How to Write an Effective Resume

By: George Stillwell

There are many great resume writing websites and software packages. This article will not give you all the specifics on how to write a great resume but rather will hit on some of the major design considerations you need to keep in mind.

The single objective of a Resume is: To secure an interview.

As such, it is primarily an advertisement of you to the employer. What you are advertising is that you embody all of the skills and capabilities the employer is looking for. That means you have what it takes to 1. Make the company money, 2. Act responsibly, 3. Minimize risk. In order to do this you must know what specific skills and capabilities the company values most for the position you are applying for (see skills & capabilities below). Leverage your networking and a careful reading of the application and job description for clues to this.

When in doubt ask the hiring manager directly - before the interview!

The following are the most important elements of a great resume:

It must be concise, easy to read, eye catching. Trust me, if this is not the case, it WILL NOT be read.

The average scan time for a resume is less than 30 seconds. Write and rewrite it, sharing it with others for feedback until you are sure this is the case.

It should clearly state your career objective up front which must match the job you are interviewing for. For example, "To work as a market research manager for a major apparel company", or "to work as a manufacturing operations manager for a major automobile company".

It should focus most of the page on your relevant skills and experience and link those to what the company is looking for. Be specific on the skills and capabilities you have acquired and the accomplishments you've delivered. With each example, state the experience, what you gained from it and what you accomplished. Accomplishments are business and organizational results such as: sales goals, team development, accounts secured, products launched, etc. Think in terms of money you made for the company.

Civic leadership roles/postions should only be included if they specifically support the career objective.

Job experiences and education are secondary to skills and capabilities. List the chronology last.

Personal interests are only releveant if they present skills or capabilities that support the career interest. If not, leave them off.

References should be listed as "on request". But, have some ready if requested!

Skills & Capabilities all Great Companies Look For

Leadership – You direct, motivate and even inspire others to do things they could not or would not do without your influence. You set the vision for your organization and then enroll and enable to team to deliver on it. This is the single most valuable capability. If you are not a 'born leader' take time to study it and get better at it.

Strategic Thinking – You understand the overall objectives/goals of your company, division, etc. and are able to develop choices for what your team will focus on to deliver against them. You then develop specific tactics to bring the strategies to life. You think in terms of fiscal years vs. day to day.

Innovative Thinking – You are able to think “outside the box” and create concepts and products that go beyond the obvious. You make relevant connections between situations you or the team have encountered before.

Creative Problem Solving – You are able to properly identify problems and then organize yourself and the team to develop solutions and put them into action.

Collaboration/Team Work – You understand what an effective team is and bring people together to deliver great results. You understand diversity and leverage it in your day to day affairs. You treat others with respect.

Communication – You are an effective written and oral communicator. You are open and honest and give and receive feedback frequently and effectively.

Flexibility – You are able to accept change, adapt to new conditions and surroundings. You view change as an opportunity to learn and grow vs. a distraction to be avoided.

Mastery – You understand the technical aspects of your work, the processes and data used. You are able to learn new information and technologies and quickly adapt them to your work. You constantly seek to improve your level of mastery.

Reliability – You get work done in a quality way every time. You show up on time, participate actively, are responsive to requests and follow through on your commitments.

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About the Author:

Senior executive with one of the top consumer products companies in the world. I have worked for the past 20 years in manufacturing, category development and sales and have extensive experience recruiting and hiring from college campuses and the open job market. I created this web site to provide a one-stop shop for individuals who are seeking to make themselves more marketable to companies like mine.


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