Wednesday February 1, 2012

One Resume Technique Makes You Stand Out

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A Human Resources Manager, working at a Fortune 500 company, asked for my help in writing her resume. She told me: "Thousands of resumes have passed through my hands but when it comes to writing my own I have a difficult time doing it." She isn't alone in her concerns. Most people find resume writing challenging. A resume is nothing more than a slick piece of advertising, but an important piece, especially in today's job market.

Employers report that most resumes get only a 15-20 second glance. If you don't capture the reviewer's attention and interest quickly they will pass you by and call in someone else for the interview.

Resume Tips.jpg There is one effective technique that you can use that dramatically improves your resume. In our national survey of 600 hiring managers, the overwhelming majority said the most important part of your resume is the SUMMARY OF QUALIFICATIONS section. Employers reported that this was one of the very first areas they read and when the summary demonstrates solid ability to perform the job it catches their attention and they slow down and give the applicant more careful consideration.

Hiring managers also reported only about 5% of resumes received contained this key section, and I never write a resume without it. It's just too powerful to leave out. This section usually consists of four to six sentences that present an overview of your experience, accomplishments, talents, work habits, and skills. Think of it as a mini-outline of you; a highly influential summation of the specifics you bring to the job.

Here is a good example from one of the resumes I wrote for a client:

SUMMARY OF QUALIFICATIONS

Proven track record serving as corporate counsel with eight years experience dealing with intellectual property and partnerships in a global environment. Responsible for a broad range of legal matters including: copyright and trademark protection, contract negotiations, compliance, and litigation. Led legal team in completing sophisticated joint venture negotiations that delivered millions to the company's bottomline. Recognized for superior problem-solving, project management, relationship building, and strategic planning skills.

It's easy to see by reading this brief summary how this candidate is qualified to perform as a corporate attorney. Indeed, she got several interviews and accepted a Fortune 100 company's offer, which included a very significant salary raise and signing bonus.

The SUMMARY OF QUALIFICATIONS, which speaks volumes by consolidating the best you have to bring to the job, really makes you stand out and pulls the employer in for a closer look. Be sure that your resume has this essential section. It comes right after your name, address and career objective. One caution -- employers complain that many people lie on their resume. Exaggeration! Misrepresentation! LYING is a deadly error. Don't do it! Employers do more background checks now than ever before so when you get caught, and sooner or later you will get exposed, you'll likely be fired. Only solid facts and verifiable experience should highlight your experience and accomplishments.

- Robin Ryan

Career Counselor and Best-Selling Author

America's most popular career counselor, Robin Ryan, is the author of four bestselling books: 60 Seconds & You're Hired!, Winning Resumes, Winning Cover Letters, and What to Do with the Rest of Your Life. She's appeared on over a thousand TV & radio shows including Oprah, Dr. Phil, and has been published in most major newspapers and magazines including USA Today & the Wall Street journal. Contact her at 425.226.0414; email: info@robinryan.com.

Copyright 2012 Robin Ryan. All rights reserved.