The Key to Writing Effective Resumes
Writing a resume is like brewing beer — certain ingredients are essential, but there’s no one way to do it.
Just as every good batch of beer needs water, malt, hops and yeast, there are certain ingredients that should go into every good resume.
There are three of them, in my view. Here they are …
1) Focus on achievements and results
Your resume should focus on the good things you’ve done for previous employers or while in school.
By contrast, most resumes focus on job duties and responsibilities, which forces employers to read between the lines and guess at your true value.
Fill your resume with specific results, using dollars and numbers where possible. Examples:
- Created and led Client Solutions Division in 2018. In one year, gained 80% of market share against IBM, while meeting sales goal of $5 million.
- Reduced administration expenses by $2 million, cut $1 million from operating budget and saved $100,000 by evaluating contract employee (all in 2000).
2) Easy-to-read design
I use Times New Roman 11- or 12-point fonts for the body copy and Arial Black or Bookman for headings. This combination is easy to read, with a professional appearance.
Whatever you do, AVOID USING ALL CAPITAL LETTERS, WHICH ARE PROVABLY HARDER TO READ.
3) Easy-to-read language
Follow the advice of Winston Churchill, who said: “Use short, old words.”
Most resumes don’t. Their writers are convinced that big words make them sound smarter and more accomplished.
Filling your resume with words like utilization (use) or facilitation (assist) will only make the reader’s job harder. It will NOT make you sound smarter. Your resume should sound like you speaking, only in print.
To brew up a resume that gets you a job interview, remember to include these key ingredients: a focus on achievements, easy-to-read design and everyday language.