5 Critical Components for Effective Resume Building

It’s well known that building a strong resume can be a daunting task, but it is incredibly important that you invest the time upfront to make your best first impression – do it right the first time, then all you’ll have to do is update over time and tailor it based on positions for which you are applying.

Always keep in mind when writing your resume, that you are your own brand selling yourself. What is the purpose of the resume if not to speak to your accomplishments and outstanding outcomes? This is one of the few times it’s ok to brag; there is no room for modesty in this pursuit, just do it right.

Here are five critical components of resume building – going beyond the ubiquitous ‘How to Write a Resume’ articles uncovered through Google search – to best highlight your skills and accomplishments:

  1. Be specific, not general: How you accomplished something is arguably more important that what you accomplished. Demonstrating your thought process, leadership, and accountability managing a project demonstrates the skills employers are looking for – your goal is to demonstrate value.
  2. Quantify results wherever, and whenever possible: If you are describing one of the goals you accomplished be sure to tie the goal back to numbers. In other words, if you put a process in place that created efficiency and eliminated errors, what was the financial impact of that new process? For example, reduced error rate from 10% to 2% in first 90 days saving our organization $200,000/yr.
  3. Bullets over paragraphs: The goal of a resume is to highlight your abilities in the most efficient and effective way possible. Use direct and clear bullets to describe your work and accomplishments. The goal is to use the least amount of words possible to most effectively deliver your message while still being thorough and specific.
  4. Tailor your resume based on the position for which you are applying: This does not always require extensive editing, but it is very important to do so. Employers can tell when a resume is being pumped out versus one that is tailored for a position. The extra effort can go a long way in getting attention.
  5. Don’t sell yourself short: It can be easy to screen yourself out of opportunities before you apply because you don’t have management experience or haven’t previously led as many employees as is required. Keep in mind that a combination of skills from different positions can add up to reasonable presentation of your skills for a position slightly out of reach – the sum of its parts. For example, you may not have ever had a manager title but have been responsible for teaching, training and educating new hires. What about when the boss is out, do you step into the role as needed? Does your current/previous boss lean on you for special projects and give you leadership responsibilities outside your position description?

Once you feel you have put together a resume that shouts ‘Hire me,’ be sure to have someone else with strong grammar and writing skills look it over and provide feedback. We often miss things that could be better because we have been writing, reading, and revising the same information to put our best foot forward.

In summary, include the above five key components within your resume and you’ll be well on your way to snagging that dream job. But, always remember to be not about the “having” and more so about the “doing.” Touting titles, credentials, and degrees within your resume is a given, but expanding on the details of how you got there and the accomplishments because of the knowledge gained – is a better strategy for success.

So, that outstanding resume got you a job interview, now what? Be sure to keep an eye out for a future article on how best to prepare for the interview.

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