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Tips on Writing a Professional Resume-Straight from the Hiring Manager

Your resume must get you an interview. It either works, or it doesn't. Once you get the interview, a great resume sets the tone for you to elaborate on your skills and actions at past jobs. How do we know? Robin asked over 600 Hiring Managers in her national Hiring Manager Survey. Then she talked to CEOs about the attributes most sought for their companies, in the CEO Survey. Now, Robin has encapsulated it for you.

Employers want to draw conclusions from your resume. They want to learn the results of efforts you've spent elsewhere.

The 15 Second Resume

All the effort you put into creating this resume will either succeed or fail in 15 seconds. That's the amount of time your employer will spend with it before deciding that you are in - or you're out.

So you better be organized. And you better know what your strongest attributes are. Here are some tips for evaluating your resume (taken from the "Hiring Manager Survey"):

Valerie, Human Resources Director, working at a prominent Northwest company said "I see resumes all the time. Thousands have passed through my hands but when it comes to writing my own I have a difficult time doing it. A resume is nothing more than a slick piece of advertisement. But an important piece, especially in today's job market."

Your resume is all an employer has when they start the screening process. And employers report that most resumes get only a 15 second glance. If you don't capture their attention quickly they pass you by and call in someone else for the interview.

There is a good technique that you can use though that employers really like to see on a resume. In her national survey the overwhelming majority said the most important part of your resumé is your Summary of Qualifications section, since employers reported that this was one of the very first areas they read. And if the briefly stated summary demonstrates solid ability to fill the advertised 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 contained this key section and Robin never write a resume without it. Think of it as mini-outline of you; a highly influential summation of the specifics you bring to the job. This section usually consists of four to six sentences that present an overview of your experience, accomplishments, talents, work habits and skills. Here is a good example from one of Robin's client's resumes:

Summary of Qualifications

Twelve years human resources management experience in fast-paced, rapidly expanding companies. Expertise includes employment law, recruiting, employee and labor relations, and compensation. Analytical decision maker with excellent problem-solving skills, excellent team collaborator. Recognized for ability to develop employee's professional growth and increase their productivity.

It's easy to see reading this brief summary how this candidate is qualified to do a human resources job. Indeed, she got several interviews and went on to work at Seattle 's most famous coffee company.

One caution - employers complain that many people lie on their resume. Exaggeration! Misrepresentation! LYING is a deadly error. Don't do it! Employers ask more questions and do more background checks now than ever before so when you get caught, and sooner or later your lie will get exposed, you'll likely be fired. Solid facts and verifiable experience should highlight your actions and accomplishments.

-Robin Ryan

Through her Survey of CEOs and the Survey of Hiring Managers, Robin has identified dozens of common mistakes to avoid, plus noted the attributes to promote your most marketable and appealing skills in both resumes and cover letters. These, along with hundreds of samples are included with Robin's The Resume & Cover Letter Wiring Program including the Audio "Creating Resumes and Cover Letters that Sell!" with computer templates CDs, and her bestsellers: Winning Resumes 2003 and Winning Cover Letters 2003.