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How Effective is Your Resume?

How Effective is Your Resume?

Sean Harry |

February 24, 2010

As a job seeker, you have a resume and you send it to every possible job opening you can find. You make sure every recruiter in town has at least one copy on her desk. It’s posted in six places on You hand it out like those guys hocking strip-show fliers on 5th Avenue in New York City. You even sent one to your best friend’s mother, simply because she seems to know everybody! But how effective is your resume, really?

Are you getting the results you want from it? Are you getting enough interviews? Do you even KNOW what “good results” would look like?

Have no fear, my friends, we are here to take the pain and confusion out of writing an effective resume. Here’s the inside scoop on getting the most out of your resume:

1. Define Expected Results

The first thing you need to do is determine what purpose your resume will play in your job search efforts. Do you want to use it to get a foot in the door? Do you want it to help you “close the sale?” Or, do you want your resume to simply be something your prospective employer has in their hands to help them rest assured they have made the right decision by hiring you? Any of these are legitimate uses for a resume, but you need to know how you intend to use this important document in order to be able to craft it to effectively achieve your goals.

2. Begin With a Clear Professional Summary

If you are lucky, you will get eight seconds worth of attention from the person reading your resume. You have got to grab their attention so they will read further. A banal, boring, or uninteresting summary will send them on to the next person. I see way too many resume’s that begin with some kind of “objective statement” to the effect, “desire a challenging career that utilizes my strengths.” I bet the hiring manager who reads this will get 500 or more with the same objective. What in that statement will make you stand out from the others? More importantly, what do you have to offer a potential employer? Your resume is a marketing tool similar to a newspaper ad. If you want to grab the attention of the reader you’ve got to have a compelling headline. Otherwise, they will move on to the next one without giving you a second thought.

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3. Give Proof

Once you have their attention you need to back up your statement with credible, verifiable results to prove you are capable of doing what you say you can do. Use CAR Statements in the body of your resume to demonstrate your capabilities. Don’t just state responsibilities. Give specific examples of how your actions have helped previous employers make or save money. For example, every Office Manager could put on their resume they “order, organize and monitor office supply cabinet.” Big deal. Nothing in that statement would be enough to get you an interview. Just think of what might happen if, instead, you put down something like, “saved previous employer $12,000 per year by developing a process to effectively order and manage office supplies.” I can tell you what happened, because one of my clients put that on her resume and got several interviews because of it. Show “proof” and you will stand out from the competition.

4. Develop an Effective Follow Up Strategy

You probably have figured out using a shotgun approach in your job search is not very effective. It’s a bit counter-intuitive, but a narrowly focused, laser-beam strategy will produce much better results. If you don’t have a strategy for your job search you may want to check out the Careers 2.0 ARMS process. It has helped hundreds of other job seekers find their perfect job in half the time, and Basic Membership is free!

If you aren’t seeing the results you want from your current resume, perhaps it’s time to try something different. These four tips have been time tested and will definitely produce results, I guarantee it!

For over 20 years Sean Harry has been successful at helping train and motivate people to find what’s important in life and develop a strategy to achieve it. Connect with Sean via LinkedIn or follow him on Twitter.

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