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The Interviewable Resume

It is rumored that the only word William Shakespeare wrote on his resume was "Available." Weíll probably never know if that is true. But it raises an interesting question. How much information is too much and how much is too little when dealing with resume copy?

The resume is a vital piece to any job search. As companies scramble to find the ideal candidate, they use the resume to screen candidates. Done right, a resume builds an instant connection with the reader and helps steer the course of the interview in your favor. If you submit a resume that piques the curiosity of the reader, he or she most likely will ask questions based on the information you provided on the resume as opposed to relying on a pre-packaged questionnaire. Thatís how you know you have an interviewable resume, when it assists in shaping the course of the interview.

The challenge is how does one create an interviewable resume, one that isnít boring or sterile? How does one write a resume that motivates the reader to give you a call?

Write with the employer in mind

Cast aside the belief that the resume is about you Ė because it isnít. Though the resume is your story, the heart of it should focus on the needs of the employer. When developing your resume give thought to the person who will be reading it. What are his or her immediate concerns? How will you be able to solve that personís problems?

Though it may be difficult to pin down a companyís immediate concerns before an interview, the reality is that organizations recruit candidates for one of the following reasons: they need to replace an unproductive employee, a peak performer was promoted or left, or a new position has been created. A recruiter usually searches for a candidate who will produce certain results, one that is a skilled communicator and has a strong work ethic. If you are able to target your resume toward these key areas, you will, without a doubt, tap into the organizationís concerns.

Choose your phrases carefully

Sentence starters and appropriate use of action words all determine whether the resume is interviewable. Instead of using predictable phrases, think of ways to add punch to your resume. For example, instead of using increased sales by 250%...write delivered a 250% increase in sales...; instead of using ability to effectively...write demonstrated ability to effectively...; and instead of using reduced costs...write slashed costs.

When your resume doesnít sound like all the others on the recruiterís desk, he or she will take notice. You will be remembered when your resume breaks the monotony of the recruiterís day. Guaranteed.

Have a consistent message

Donít try to become all things to all people. If you are a CEO, donít add a statement that indicates that you are willing to be a Business Manger. If you are a Sales Manager, donít indicate that you are willing to take on a position as a Customer Service Representative. Get the picture? Determine what you are selling (and looking for) before you put one word to paper.

Determine your major selling points

Though you may share the same job title with many other people, your accomplishments and how you carry out your responsibilities are what distinguishes you from all the other qualified candidates. Focus your resume on not only what you did but also how well you did it. By design, what makes you interviewable is how you market your strengths on paper.

-Linda Matias
Recognized as a career expert, Linda Matias brings a wealth of experience to the career services field. She has been sought out for her knowledge of the employment market, outplacement, job search strategies, interview preparation, and resume writing, quoted a number of times in The Wall Street Journal, New York Newsday, Newsweek, and She is President of CareerStrides and the National Resume Writersí Association. Visit her website at or email her at