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VOL. 35 | NO. 32 | Friday, August 12, 2011
Get a job!

Get ‘motivated’ to write a resume that stands above others

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When writing your resume, consider that many other candidates applying for the same job might be making similar claims and using the same words you are.

Instead of being another applicant that just fits the job profile, try to be a little smarter. Revitalize your application with a review-and-improve effort of your resume when you apply for your next position. Make sure you stand out.

Peruse your resume for bland, overused phases and words such as excellent, over-achiever, motivated, driven, energetic and seasoned. You can still use some of these, just mix them up a little with more attention-grabbing words.

Don’t limit your word adjustment. Look at the nouns and verbs as well as the adjectives.

Don’t make assertions that are unsupported. If you make a claim, make sure you back it up with examples. If you are a great communicator, explain how. If you are an excellent manager, let the reader know how you have performed on the job.

Describe with examples and convince the reader with the idea you are worth an interview. Provide specific accounts of what you’ve done that makes you outstanding.

Review past performance evaluations from supervisors for material that demonstrates why they consider you a strong employee. List awards or other forms of recognition you earned while on the job.

Many words and phrases often used should be questioned because they convey traits that employers consider ordinary for anyone that applies for a job. Using a descriptive word or phrase, such as, “motivated” or “good worker” adds little if anything. Don’t take up valuable resume space with this unnecessary verbiage.

However, don’t go overboard with excessively spin. Make it believable. Focus on what makes you right for the position. And stay away from your perceived shortcomings.

Trying to cover up a perceived deficiency can have the opposite affect of what you intended. Most recruiters and hiring managers have a lot of experience of reviewing resumes and can catch a misleading or confusing description. For instance, if you sold in a local sales territory in your position, don’t try and make it look like you marketed all over the country.

Certain words can make many hiring managers stop and take notice. Grab their attention with the best words you can use about yourself.

Make sure you use action words and phrases to describe your accomplishments. Project the image of someone who has the background and initiative to get things done. Consider using words such as increased, reduced, developed, under-budget and improved performance.

Help hiring managers see clearly what you’ve accomplished in the past and how you can use this as a basis for future success within their organization.

Do you think an employer would rather take on someone who refers to himself as a “productive employee” or someone who indicates that in his present or former position he increased company profit by five percent? Obviously, it would be the latter.

But don’t forget, it is important to also use words that are standard to your specific industry. This shows your familiarity with the language of your field and increases the chances of getting past a routine scan for keywords.

The main point here is employers want someone that can do the job well. Choose your words with care and don’t waste space on your resume that does not explain how you can perform the job better than everyone else.

M.B. Owens is a Nashville-based columnist and journalist with a decade of experience writing on employment topics and business. He can be reached at mariusowens@aol.com.

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