How to Write a Resume to Get a Job in 2010

How to Write a Resume: Free Tips that Land the Job!

I owned a staffing agency in New York City from 1996-2004. I also held the position of Regional Director of Recruiting for a large Texas firm for a few years. I’ve eyeballed literally tens of thousands of resumes, and have interviewed a few thousand applicants. I relay all this to give some credence to what I’m about to say, for it is from first-hand experience.

Following are some things every job-seeking candidate should do when writing a resume to get a job in 2010. Please note, these suggestions are from my personal point of view. No industry standard is set or implied.

How to Write a Resume: Length

Most resumes should be limited to one page. The reason is recruiters and hiring managers are very busy and most simply won’t take the time to read lengthy resumes. And, usually, we don’t straight out read a resume; we skim them. What we’re looking for are the skills we’ve outlined in the job you applied for.

To shorten your resume, focus on the three most important and/or relevant duties of each position you’ve held. Three to five bullet points is usually sufficient to capture the essence of a given position. Jobs that were held more than five years ago can have as little as two or three bullet points.

Exceptions to the One-Page Resume Rule

i) If you are in a highly specialized field with extensive certifications that can’t be captured on one page; or

ii) You have more than 10 years in one field – and the duties you performed are directly relevant to the position you’re currently applying for.

Rule of thumb to remember about old jobs

The more time that passes, the less emphasis you need to place on a particular job. That’s because usually, skill sets get outdated, you get promoted to more prominent positions, and/or you change fields altogether. The exception to this rule (almost every resume-writing rule has an exception) is that if the job you had was at a noted institution. Or, you worked with a well-known person. Or, you received a prestigious award.

How to Write a Resume: The Format

Most recruiters and hiring managers prefer bullet-pointed resumes. This is as opposed to a “paragraphy” format. They prefer them for the following reasons:

i) The information in bullet-point format is easier and quicker to absorb at a glance; and

ii) The resume looks cleaner and more streamlined.

Bulleted points should be no more than three lines long, with one or two being ideal.

How to Write a Resume: Relay Benefits; Not Features

Too many job seekers relay features in their resumes, instead of benefits. If you know anything about selling, you know that the golden rule is to relay the benefits of a product/service; NOT features. What’s the difference?

Benefits solve a problem for a prospect; features list attributes. For example, if you were marketing a brand of lipstick, you wouldn’t tell women that it costs less than others, or that it has the prettiest case. They could care less about these features.

They want a lipstick that makes them feel sexy, young, alluring, sophisticated, polished, will help them attract the lover of their dreams, etc. THIS is what they’re buying. They don’t care about a sleek case or the fact that they’ll save a few dollars by buying Brand A as opposed to Brand B. In fact, they’ll pay MORE for a lipstick that gives them the benefits they seek.

As a job-seeking candidate, you have to sell your benefits – not your features.

And, benefits are usually expressed in verbs and statistics, ie, saved 35% on office supplies by introducing and enacting a “green initiatives” program that cut down on the use of paper goods and other office supplies like toner.

Numbers and verbs speak volumes. Use them!

How to Write a Resume: The Setup

How to Write a Resume Objective (Should You?): I don’t like to see objectives on resumes and I’ll tell you why. An objective tells the employer what YOU want. This is irrelevant. Obviously, your objective is to procure the position for which you applied. Your credentials will tell a recruiter all they need to know about whether or not you’re qualified for a given position; hence, stating an objective is not only not necessary, it’s redundant.

What recruiters and hiring officials do like to see on a resume is a summary of qualifications/skills in a PROFILE section. This should be at the top. It tells potential employers right off the bat if you have what they’re looking for.

Nothing is more frustrating for a recruiter when filtering resumes than to have to go on a “treasure hunt” for information that should be easily spotted.

After this section, then you can list work experience, education and finally professional, RELEVANT affiliations. Rarely is attention given to hobbies, special and/or other interests sections. But it does provide for interesting reading, especially if you’ve done something unique like a 100-mile desert marathon. That’s the kind of cool little tidbit that can make you memorable.

Regarding Education: If you graduated in the last three to five years, depending on how much relevant experience you’ve procured, education can be placed at the top of your resume. This lets prospective employers know that you are still relatively new to the workforce. If you graduated more than five years ago, this category should be at the bottom.

Same Company/Different Positions: If you’ve held more than one position at the same company, be careful to note continuity. To accomplish this, state the company name only once and the total time that you worked there. Then, state each position, putting the title and dates beside each position that you held. For example:

ABCX Publishing, 1980-1991
Editor (1988-1991)
Accomplishments/Duties:

Associate Editor (1983-1988; Promoted to Editor)
Accomplishments/Duties:

Copy Editor (1980-1983; Promoted to Associated Editor)
Accomplishments/Duties:

If you received a promotion between positions, be sure to note that. This serves a double purpose. One, it demonstrates longevity (a highly desired trait); and two, it highlights your effectiveness within the company. Namely, that you were talented enough, resourceful enough and worked hard enough, to be promoted.

Freelance Experience: Categorize all freelance experience separately, especially if you have many listings. This will make you seem less like a job hopper and will clearly separate this experience from permanent and part-time employment.

How to Write a Resume: A Note about Social Media

Social media is a relatively new phenomenon that a lot of job seekers don’t take full advantage of. But it’s something I think a lot of employers look for because no matter what field you’re in, the internet plays a major part in how businesses operate these days.

So, if you don’t already, join a few social media sites. Two that I think are particularly appropriate for job hunters are LinkedIn and Twitter. If you already have accounts on these and there is material there that is not appropriate for potential employers to see, start new profiles.

And, be sure to make the others private and/or accessible by invite only.

Employers do conduct internet searches. And it’s something that a lot of them won’t admit to for liability purposes.

A rule of thumb as a matter of course is not to post anything online you wouldn’t want your mother to see, for, it stays there – for life – in one form or another. So, practice being on your best “electronic” behavior when job hunting.

How to Write a Resume: How to Submit Your Credentials for a Job

Submit your resume in the form that the employer requested.

For example, the ad says to copy/paste all resumes in the body of an email, then send it that way.

The reason is, many employers don’t like attachments for the obvious reason of virus transmission. Also, submitting an attachment when it hasn’t been requested forces the potential reader to open programs that he or she may not be in or worse yet, may not have.

Many recruiters look for ways to discard resumes because they get so many responses. And, one of the rules they use to discard many resumes is to automatically delete those that violate their submission rules. So follow all submission rules as closely as possible.

Following is a sample resume set up. Good luck when writing your resume to get a job in 2010.

NAME
Contact Info

PROFESSIONAL PROFILE (OR SUMMARY OF QUALIFICATIONS)

List all relevant skills and qualifications here. This should be no more than three or four lines.

WORK EXPERIENCE:

Company Name
Title/Time Held
Accomplishments (notice I said accomplishments, NOT duties). You can list duties, but try to list them as accomplishments where possible

Company Name
Title/Time Held
Accomplishments (notice I said accomplishments, NOT duties). You can list duties, but try to list them as accomplishments where possible

Company Name
Title/Time Held
Accomplishments (notice I said accomplishments, NOT duties). You can list duties, but try to list them as accomplishments where possible

Company Name
Title/Time Held
Accomplishments (notice I said accomplishments, NOT duties). You can list duties, but try to list them as accomplishments where possible


EDUCATION

RELEVANT CONTRACT EXPERIENCE (This is where you can list relevant freelance gigs)

Company Name/Year
Position/Duties

Company Name/Year
Position/Duties

Company Name/Year
Position/Duties

PROFESSIONAL AFFILIATIONS

PERSONAL INTEREST/HOBBIES

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Comments 4 comments

Ambition398 profile image

Ambition398 6 years ago

GOod points about the social media. No employer wants to see your body parts unclothed online (OK, maybe PlayBoy) or read any rudeness. Keep things clean :)


Yuwanda 6 years ago

You're right about keeping things clean. I can't believe some of the stuff people put out there.

Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts.


Leslie Jo Barra profile image

Leslie Jo Barra 5 years ago

Thanks for the tips. I'll be sure to use them.


Melis Ann profile image

Melis Ann 4 years ago from Mom On A Health Hunt

Good points - looks like my resume is in check, but always room to add a few improvements!

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