Six Resume Writing Tips That Get Results


Brian Ray gives advice on writing your resume based on his experience as an interviewer.

I have read – I mean I have looked at – over 25,000 resumes in my career of recruiting, corporate HR and career development. Over the course of my career, I’ve discovered the 6 tips for writing resumes that get results.

Resume Writing Tip #1: Feature Results in Your Resume

Most recruiters believe that past performance is the best indicator of future performance.  The “STAR” acronym is the simplest way to describe your accomplishments in terms of the Situation you faced, the Task you were challenged to complete, the Actions you took, and the Results you got. 

For your resume, highlight the Situation and show the Results. Don’t attempt to explain how you did it in the resume – that’s what the interview is for. For example, "In the face of a 10% market downturn in 2007, I increased territory sales by 27%.

Resume Writing Tip #2: Put Results in Top Half of the First Page

Remember, I said I look at resumes. Given the volume of resumes I receive, I scan only the first page. So, give it your best shot right at the beginning. Make it easy for me to find your results.

When I see results related to the job I have to fill, I’ll stop and read further or place the resume in a folder for further review. If not, I immediately move on to the next resume. Your resume will get an initial 7-second scan – zip, zap, done.

Resume Writing Tip #3: Customize Your Resume for Each Job

Study the job posting carefully. Copy keywords and phrases in the description that are true of you, and paste them in your resume. Be sure to select results that are most relevant to what the employer seeks.

Resume Writing Tip #4: Use Fewer Words to Make a Point

Write your resumes for people who don’t read, but rather scan resumes. 

Use bullet points. 

Keep phrases and sentences short. 

Use simpler words versus longer words. 

List complete thoughts on one line.

Resume Writing Tip #5: Use Chronological or Functional Resume Formats

Use the chronological resume format for jobs that extend your currently successful career path. If you’re changing careers or have had bad breaks in your career recently, use a functional resume format. Start by listing your best abilities, talents, knowledge and skills with results. 

Resume Writing Tip #6: Make Contacting You Simple

If your name is William Fitzgerald Kowalowitz III, and everyone calls you Bill, consider putting just Bill Kowalowitz. Put the name you use so interviewers don’t have to make an adjustment when they see your name in writing and then hear a different name when you’re talking. 

When listing your contact information:

The ideal email address has your name in it, just as they see it on the resume, like yourname@youremail.com. It’s a great way to reinforce your name.

List just one phone number. A cell phone is best because it gets directly to you wherever you are. 

How about your home address? Sometimes yes, but these days with privacy issues, maybe you just simply name, email, and phone number.

Your name yourname@youremail.com 555.123.4567

The Bottom Line

Resumes that show results get results. What kind of results? Interviews where you’ve set up questions that you can answer how you got those results!

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