Since I joined the Career Rocketeer team in April 2009, in addition to my own practice, I’ve critiqued hundreds of readers’ resumes for free and been hired by many readers to write, rewrite, update or edit their resumes for them. This has given me a unique opportunity to read and evaluate countless resumes that were self-written or written by a friend, relative or co-worker and compare them to resumes written by highly skilled, semi-skilled and novice professional resume writers.
What I would like to share with you is what I see as similarities among the men and woman who are capable of writing a resume and the individuals who cannot. The same pattern also holds true for being capable of writing an effective LinkedIn page for today’s job market and the new breed of recruiters, resume screeners and hiring authorities who are increasingly using social media to source and hire talent.
Here are my top 5 qualities that people who can write an effective resume have in common:
1: They have dealt with resumes – screening, reviewing or writing them – as a part of their current or previous job or they have written detailed job descriptions to attract talent in their field. This experience has given them exposure to know what facts and information is absolutely required, pertinent and useful in a resume and what wastes valuable space. This experience also taught them what statements make a candidate appear qualified and what makes them appear overqualified or under qualified for the job they want to be considered for.
2: They know how to mentally approach writing their resume from the interviewer’s point of view as opposed to writing the document from the candidate’s perspective. This allows them to construct an ideal candidate profile for a set of similar positions and identify where and how they match the ‘hire’ profile.
3: They have a sixth sense in terms of style and format that helps them establish a personal brand that stands out in a crowd.
4: They know the difference between duties and responsibilities and accomplishments and achievements and how to qualify, quantify and articulate achievements and value in clear, concise statements and bullet points.
5: They know how to gather and organize their thoughts, have good command of the English language and of the technical terms and jargon in their field, and they are articulate and proficient in grammar and spelling.
Here are my top 5 qualities that people who struggle to write an effective resume have in common
1: They do not work with resumes as a part of their job therefore they may lack perspective on what the person screening and/or evaluating the resume is looking for, plus they do not have the advantage of seeing different resume styles, formats and presentations to know what is most appealing to decision makers in their field.
2: They last wrote or updated their resume before 2008 and therefore most are not aware of the major changes in resume writing techniques and how to incorporate social media in the writing and presentation process.
3: They ask the right questions about how to improve their resume but are unable to apply the answers without someone showing them a concrete example on paper.
4: They are over-saturated with sources of information and ask the wrong people for advice, so in the end they do not know the difference between professional, generic and amateur advice and criticism and how to apply it.
5: They are unorganized and clueless about how to identify and articulate their value and achievements. The end result is that most of what they write applies equally to themselves and to their competition.
As always, I’m available to critique U.S. resumes and offer suggestions to you at no cost. You can send me an email with your current resume to firstname.lastname@example.org