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We all have one and whether it’s good or not, we have doubts from time to time. I’m talking about a resume. If you’re in the heat of a job search or just shining up your resume just in case, run your resume past these quick tips to be sure you’re not missing anything.

As VP of an international recruiting company, I’ve interviewed hundreds of people and have assisted hiring managers in hiring their own staff. I’ve seen some killer resumes and some that were…well, horrific. From Glamour head shots and lengthy explanations as to why they left each and every position, to descriptions of food allergies and bad jokes that don’t translate on paper, I’ve seen it all.

A resume is like the pilot of a TV show. It has to gain interest, show what it can do and where it could go in a small amount of time.

Instead of presenting yourself in a way that’ll get you the job, it’s best to look for a position where you can gain experience and use the expertise you already have to make an impact. You can showcase this when your resume checks these 3 boxes: 

~ What do I have the skills for? What about my experience and perspective makes me the person to hire?

~ How can I add value to this person or company?  

~ Where do I seek to grow?

For this last one to work, it’s not about how this job will give you the experience you want to move on and up but instead shows a determination to grow and expand which is attractive to a hiring manager. Avoid using job titles to explain this point and instead discuss the skills you’d like to develop to explain your point.

sweet spot

Your resume represents a part of your brand.

Run your resume through these 10 points before sending it out:

1. Unless you’re in the creative field, stick to an easy to read format. No pictures of yourself and no crazy fonts or borders.

2. Be sure your resume is in first person.

3. Be succinct. One page or 2 doesn’t matter as long as the key information is easy for the reader to find. Can the reader find the highlights or is it one blob of text?

4. If you’ve been out of school for more than 5 years, move your education to the bottom. Lead with your most recent job and work backward chronologically. Again, unless you’re a new grad, your graduation date isn’t necessary.

5. If you’ve held several positions at the same company, use the company name as the section’s header and move backward. If the positions were similar in nature, for example, account executive and senior account executive, list both titles and dates, one on top of the other with the bullets of your skills and accomplishments below. If the positions were different, give each position a sub-section under the company header also with the dates.

6. List accomplishments instead of job duties. How did you save the company, your boss, your clients or your team time or money? Quantify your experience by using numbers and percentages.

In order to be specific, consider these questions: how much, how many, how often?

For example, instead of saying you managed a team, explain the size of the team and how many of those people have found success, moved up, etc. Think of it this way, many people are managers and not many are good at it. Showing how you’ve been successful at leading is more impactful than telling.

Bullet these points versus paragraphing. I recommend no more than 5 bullet points per position.

7. Remove the objective statement. In lieu of it add a “Highlights” section. Here you can list any certifications, titles, or awards. If you list any here, don’t repeat them again when listing out your skills and accomplishments under each position. Again, use bullet points to keep it clean.

Think of this section as a place to showcase the benefit you’ve been to your company using quantifiable examples. You can also highlight any milestones in this section. For example, you might add, “Worked my way up from an Account Executive to a Branch Manager within 3 years,” or “Improved customer loyalty by 22%.”

8.  Customize your resume for the job you seek. Instead of simply changing out a few titles or duties, connect the dots between what you’ve done and what you’re looking to do. This can be done by highlighting transferable skills.

9. Add a link to your LinkedIn profile. If you haven’t done so, personalize your page’s link. For example, mine is www.linkedin.com/in/anneomland.  Here’s how to it in LinkedIn:

  • Move your cursor over Profile at the top of your homepage and select Edit Profile.
  • Click Edit next to the URL under your profile photo.
  • In the Your public profile URL box in the bottom right, click “Customize your public profile URL”.
  • Type the last part of your new custom URL in the text box.
  • Click Set Custom URL.

10. Limit experience to what’s relevant to your ultimate goal. Don’t feel like you have to list every job you’ve held since high school. The past 10-15 years is preferable.

Remove these from your resume

  • “References on Request”
  • Overly-used words like: detail-oriented, team player, go-getter. Be creative instead.
  • Skills or experience that is a no-brainer. For example, worked on a team or MS Excel experience. Unless you’re new to the workforce or are in search of an administrative role, those aren’t necessary to list out.
  • Listing your hobbies.

Real estate is valuable on a resume. My question when reviewing resumes is “what’s so great about this person?” and “why do I care?” It’s not meant to be harsh but in a sea of hundreds of resumes, you need to stand out. This can be done by being a real person, highlighting your accomplishments and how they can benefit the company you’re hoping to join.

What are your resume do’s and don’ts? Share in the comments below!

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  • Krista March 6, 2014, 1:21 am

    I love the definition of your ‘sweet spot’. I never thought about how that applies to your career – and resume. Great ideas on making your resume more YOU instead of the same old, same old. Great post xx

    • Anne Omland March 6, 2014, 1:12 pm

      Thanks Krista! x

  • Jennifer Kennedy March 6, 2014, 4:00 am

    I should probably spruce up my resume!! I don’t plan on needing it any time soon, but you never know. It’s bad, but I tend to wait until right when I need a resume before I start revamping it.

    I like the highlight section — I have one, but each bullet point lists one skill that I have (curriculum development, video editing, etc.) instead of quantifiable results.

    Looks like you’ve covered everything!! I would probably add (and this seems like a no brainer, too) including a professional email address that works!

    Always great information, Anne!

    • Anne Omland March 6, 2014, 1:11 pm

      You’re not alone in that, Jennifer. Most of us don’t spend time on our resume until we have to. You’re right on the email address. Whenever we would see an unprofessional address on a resume, we’d have the job seeker spell it out for us and usually in doing so, they’d realize it wasn’t appropriate. Great advice!

  • Kristi March 6, 2014, 4:25 am

    Hi Anne!

    Great post. I’ve done some recruiting as part of past roles and have also come across some REALLY bad resumes. My favourite are the ones with obvious spelling errors. Spell check please?

    I removed my “objective” section a while ago and instead made it a summary of who I am … my personal brand statement :)


    • Anne Omland March 6, 2014, 1:09 pm

      I love the idea of a personal brand statement. Thanks for sharing, Kristi!

  • Nayna Kanabar (@SIMPLYF00D) March 6, 2014, 2:06 pm

    This is a really useful article with good points to create a resume. The steps are clear and easy to follow. Some good advise here, thanks for sharing.

  • Diana March 6, 2014, 2:19 pm

    Great post and exatly on time as one person really needs your advices. Myself it is time to update the cv and remove hobby listing;)

  • Mike Goncalves March 6, 2014, 2:56 pm

    Excellent post Anne. Such valuable information to consider and utilize, I love it. Your ideas, tips and suggestions would certainly help someone standout (in a sea of hundreds of resumes, you need to stand out.) I love #6, I believe this is where many of us can distinguish who we are and the value we can and will bring if hired. Good stuff Anne, thanks again!

    • Anne Omland March 6, 2014, 9:51 pm

      Thanks Mike. Awesome of you to contribute your insight!

  • Eng Tinkham March 6, 2014, 3:01 pm

    Awesomee!! great information! I would definitely share this.. Need to update my resume asap. Thank you for sharing!

  • Cheryl March 7, 2014, 1:27 pm

    “Unless you’re new to the workforce or are in search of an administrative role, those aren’t necessary to list out.” I tend to partially disagree on this, while time consuming and obvious, the programs HR is using now require those term words in order to connect to compatibility for the search. What do you suggest for the person uploading their resume so they still hit with the HR program and job search?

    • Anne Omland March 7, 2014, 3:13 pm

      Thanks for your feedback, Cheryl! The no-brainers are what I feel need to be left out unless you’re looking for an administrative role. For example, everyone should know how to use the MS Office suite and it truly shouldn’t be a determining factor for a mid to high level job. I think adding the key words mentioned in the job description in order to ensure they hit the HR program. Instead of listing them out, my recommendation is to pepper them in along with your previous experience and accomplishments. I suggest moving away from a dry list of skills that most people have and instead highlighting those that make you stand out. There are instances where this advice just won’t work and I understand that. The first that comes to mind is a technical or creative job where listing the programs you’re fluent in is absolutely necessary. I’d love to hear your thoughts on this? Do you agree that the canned team player, detail oriented- type phrases ought to be left off?

  • Jennifer March 7, 2014, 6:51 pm

    As a Talent Acquistion Manger who reads hundreds of resumes I also find it helpful when resumes include a short one line description of what it is the company they worked for does.
    If the company you worked for is a manufacturing firm then say so. Example: Aidells Sausage Co. – Manuafactures speciality foods.

    • Anne Omland March 8, 2014, 1:32 pm

      Great point, Jennifer!

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