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Resume Writing Tactics

  • When it comes to optimizing the performance of your resume, don’t let anyone fool you: “What you don’t know WILL hurt you.” Check off all the boxes to ensure the resume reaches decision makers and consistently secures interviews. (Trust me when I tell you that there are far more boxes to check than most job seekers are even aware exist) A stalled or stagnant job search usually scapegoats the economy, industry, and other factors, when the fact is a poorly designed resume is usually the culprit. Below are 5 major reasons your resume may not be cutting the mustard, so to speak.

    Your Resume Has No Summary Section (or it is Poorly Written)

    Remember going to the bookstore and deciding what book to buy? (I know in this Amazon world no one goes to the bookstore anymore, but bear with me) A major influence on whether you purchased a book or not was the description on the inside cover, right? When a hiring manager has dozens (or hundreds) of resumes to review, something needs to grab their attention.

    A well-written summary leading off your resume convinces your reader to go deeper. Research has shown a resume has anywhere between 7 to 15 seconds to impress. So obviously no one is reading the entire resume in that time frame. A quality executive summary (or profile) section skillfully encapsulates why you are ideal for the role. And it does so with strength and style. Ignore this important strategy at your own peril.

    You’re Missing Impact Content

    You are more than just a stale job description. Act like it! If your resume only communicates the basic duties you have performed, then you are missing true value you get by providing one. After all, wouldn’t every applicant with a similar background have resume that sounds exactly like yours if this was the way to go? A powerfully consistent resume differentiates you from your competition. Take the time to explore where you had positive impact for each employer. What special projects did you contribute to? What are your contributions to policies and procedures? How about measurable performance metrics? Anything that sets you apart from those with a similar background should appear in the document.

    Your Resume is Missing Rich Keywords

    Your resume does not only have to impress the human audience, but it needs to navigate the digital audience as well. 75% of large companies use applicant tracking systems (ATS), with that figure jumping to 99% of Fortune 500 companies. Want that resume to disappear into a black hole? Ignore the value of keywords in that resume and your wish will come true. ATS software scans your resume for high-value keywords to help hiring authorities trim that huge stack of resumes. Perform research on the most valuable words and phrases for the positions you seek. Keep it based in differentiating skill set and stay away from the broad soft skills that say nothing (hiring managers hate navigating this).

    Your Content is Difficult to Follow

    Pretend your submission is number 143 of 150 that your reader has to review. Now let us suppose the resume is structured in such a way that the hiring manager cannot tell where one position ends and the next one begins. Perhaps it is highly difficult to visually pick up on these things quickly. Not only that, the resume is littered with grammatical mistakes, run-on sentences, inconsistencies regarding phrasing, and other issues that make it difficult to read. Once the hiring authority runs across one or two of these issues after already going through 142 other resumes, how likely is it that they will keep going?

    Clarity of prose and ease of navigation is important to ensure your reader does not struggle to comprehend your information quickly. Remember our stat regarding resume review time? Resumes only have a brief period in which to make an impression. Don’t distract or overly tax your reader, as it is sure to get your document placed in File 13 (that’s the trash can, people!)

    Your Resume Has Technical Design Deficiencies Affecting the ATS

    Remember our friend the ATS? While it is popular in its use, the software can be pretty finicky. While getting better, these hiring management systems still have their faults. A good resume will account for these issues by using proper document infrastructure, section labeling, and content spacing. Opportunities have been lost by having resumes die within the systems they attempt to navigate. If the ATS doesn’t properly scan your resume, you don’t exist to most of these companies.

    Don’t use pre-formatted resumes because they cause a lot of these issues. Especially those that use design elements where it has not been properly thought out regarding what systems see. Of course, one must have the knowledge of what the ATS software does and does not see to properly build your resume. Remember what we said earlier (what you don’t know can and does in fact hurt you).

    Conclusion

    Achieving consistency in gaining interviews is more than about your hustle and drive. You need to know what works and what doesn’t when it comes to your resume project. Send out hundreds of weak written, poorly structured documents and you’ll only get more frequent “no’s”. Your inbox will still be empty, and what’s worse is that you will never know why it happened. If going it alone with the resume, don’t just scribble duties and think it will beat out other job seekers.

    Take the time to learn the ins-and-outs of what makes your resume jump to the top of the stack. If lacking time or comfort level to research what makes a great resume tick, seek help. Hire a certified resume professional to do the dirty work for you. After all, even when you write your own, you’re competing against our offerings – and we have the cheat codes, right?

  • When your resume seems already packed to capacity, the resume update process can be frustrating. But it doesn’t have to be. Formatting and design aside, it is a matter of reassessing priorities and editing accordingly. Unless you already had plenty of room on that 2nd page, some things will need to be changed. The information below is just a little guidance on how to go about executing the update as cleanly as possible.

    Convert any “Present” roles to “Past” with End Dates

    When executing a resume update, I like to do this first. Why? It is easy to forget to go back and change verbs to past tense. Go ahead and get this slightly mundane task out of the way. Don’t forget the verbs in the middle of sentences as well. Some job seekers change those at the start of sentences and forget this.

    Add The New Role

    Once you’re done converting the most recent role in the resume to past tense, it’s time to add the new one. Add some blank lines above the aforementioned role. This gives you room to work with when adding the new position. To ensure consistency in formatting, duplicate the most recent roll by copying and pasting above it. Afterwards, delete the content only, leaving the resume formatting infrastructure intact. Copy and paste the raw material below that, and now you have something to work with to develop the new role. The resume update is about ensuring consistency in voice and language.

    Duplicate the writing structure as best as you can When writing the new position out. After a successful resume update, you should not be able to tell the new content was entered at a different time than the rest of the document. Of course, the same resume writing rules apply. Develop your prose focusing on action and impact, brevity, and grammatical accuracy. Be sure to focus more on impact than tasks and duties.

    Look for Opportunities to Trim Excess from the Resume

    At this point of the resume update, you will usually find that you have gone over to the next page. If the resume has gone from 2 to 3 pages, you’re next task is to figure out what you can trim or eliminate to correct this. Always start with older positions. If the oldest one is now dated, perhaps it can be removed. If not removing an entire position, maybe the job description content can come out, leaving only highlights. What about other older positions, can one or two lines of job description be removed to buy enough space?

    Consider Re-targeting Your Summary

    Most of us are going through a resume update because we are seeking a new position. Are you looking for something consistent with the way this resume was originally developed? Or is your career going through a slightly (or drastically) different directions? This may be a good opportunity to review and make changes to your executive summary that best fits the role you are pursuing. Planning to make the transition into management or executive leadership? This is when you revamp this section to ensure you are focusing on the right qualities and skills the job targets command. In fact, if making the leap to a new level, you may need to go through the entire document to refocus on more leadership and managerial points then you may have in the past. Perhaps previous positions did not call for this.

    Proof the Updated Resume

    Once you have made all edits and changes, it is imperative that you proof the resume before sending it out. Nothing irritates hiring managers more than receiving error-riddled resumes and cover letters from job seekers. It tells them that it was not worth your time to go through your resume to correct obvious errors. And if this is the case, why should they take the time to even call you in? When proofing your resume, you want to do this in two steps. First, you want to go through the document reading for content and continuity. This is where we make sure our content and context is correct. Once completed, go through with your technical hat on and look for spelling and grammar errors, as well as consistency in spacing, margins, and font size and type.

    Executing the proper resume update can sometimes be a little tedious. This is because you are attempting to integrate content that you are reader will not be able to distinguish from the original. But when done correctly, you should see consistent success in achieving interviews, the same as you did with the original resume. You’ll be starting your new job in no time. Good luck!

  • front-end developer resume
    With an average growth rate of 27%, front-end development is a stable career path

    So, you need to bang out an eye-popping front-end developer resume. But not exactly sure of the way to go. One thing to remember when writing any resume is to first consider the end game. Who is our reader and what are the high priority skills that would make them sit up and pay attention? Of course, when it comes to a stellar high impact resume, there is more to consider than just skill set. How about design styling, overall strategy, organization, phrasing, highlight communication, etc? However, core skill set is critical to impressing your reader and navigating applicant tracking systems with strength.

    If you are a front-end developer, your career is pretty safe for now. Some believe we have only scratched the surface of website application development. But to stay marketable, you want to keep developing that skill set. What are the latest languages? How about new libraries? Mid and senior-level web developers can easily land six-figure salaries. So if staring out of your window at work and itching to make a change, consider this field.

    Below are 4 key skills for your front-end developer resume that you want to insure your reader does not miss.

    HTML/CSS

    Okay, let’s be blunt here. If you are reader cannot readily pick up on your HTML/CSS skill set, then you haven’t got a chance. After all, HTML (HyperText Markup Language) represents the standard when it comes to building a web pages. The reader of your front-end developer resume has to know you understand concepts such as document object models, tags, and semantic markup. CSS (Cascading Style Sheets) represents the language one uses to present the HTML created document. Does your resume communicate your ability to embed.css files into pages? Yes, I know, it seems a little obvious, right? But you would be surprised at how many front-end developer resume attempts I see that do not convey this important foundational concept.

    JavaScript/jQuery

    JavaScript represents a tool that powers a website’s interactivity and allows the building UI components that include image sliders, site navigation mega menus, form validations, and pop-ups. Be sure that front-end developer resume shows this skill so your reader knows you can build sites with  functionality past HTML and CSS capabilities. jQuery is a JavaScript library designed to simplify HTML DOM tree traversal and manipulation, as well as event handling, CSS animation. Front-end development can be pretty Javascript-intensive due to the demand for highly-interactive website applications.

    Responsive Design

    A quality website is one that responds to a user’s behavior and environment based on screen sizes, platforms, and orientations. Want to build out front-end developer resume that get call-backs? Then make sure you communicate a healthy knowledge of this concept. When you bring this skill, the employer sees someone who can save money by foregoing the need to develop separate mobile applications. When you can house all of the code into one single website, everybody wins! Additionally, Google implemented search engine algorithm change back in 2015 that factor in website mobile presence as a core ranking factor, so responsive design also helps sites rank higher. So be sure that front-end developer resume gets this concept across to that hiring manager.

    Git

    Most development projects are collaborative in nature. And digital collaborations can be complex. Things may start out simple, but with several participants making changes, how can one be sure you are working on the most current version? Let the hiring manager know you can use Git to manage source code and manage and track versions. There are a few other version control systems (VCS) out there, but Git provides a foundation for services such as GitHub and GitLab. A strong front-end developer resume tells the reader that Git (or one of the other VCSs) is in your toolbox. We want them to know your ability to merge changes into the working branch so that things stay current, as well as timely.

    With an average salary of $79,591 (Glassdoor), it’s no wonder that front-end web development is a hot commodity. The Bureau of Labor Statistics had web development jobs in the US expected to grow 27% from 2014 to 2024. If you haven’t already, consider pursuing the W3C Front-End Web Developer Professional Certificate to increase your marketability. Also, consider using a professional to develop your front-end developer resume. After all, someone else is doing so, right?

  • resume writer

    So, you begin preparation for writing your resume and look for it to be as strong as possible. You research every aspect of your old job descriptions to ensure you provide detail . Also, you brainstorm highlights and achievements to include on your resume. After all, your reader should know you are someone that leaves an impact, right? After laying it all out, developing a striking summary, include high-level keywords. Finally, you wrap it up in a nice bow by using a very attractive design. There is no way this resume can miss, right? Well, not so fast.

    When it comes to resume writing, it is not always about being the best and most qualified. Yes, in the practice of hiring talent, there is such a thing as overqualified. When it comes to the development of resume strategy, you can in fact overshoot the target. If you think about it, this is not an overly hard concept to understand.

    Hiring Ain’t Cheap!

    Consider the resume from the standpoint of the hiring authority. Onboarding a new employee is a real and significant cost. The cost of advertising vacancies, posting positions on job boards, and the screening and interviewing process can add up. Not to mention the assessment time, and eventual hiring and lengthy training. Employers want to know that their new hire is not only qualified, but likely to stay. The fear of employers is that an overqualified job seeker will eventually experience dissatisfaction and seek to move on. They are trying to avoid spending thousands of dollars in training costs. Who wants to to find themselves back at the beginning 6 months later?

    “Square Peg in Round Hole” Much?

    While qualifications are definitely key, what employers find just as important is achieving the proper fit. If your resume is significantly overshooting of the role, you may find yourself waiting for a call that never comes. Good resume writing involves not only communicating relevant qualifications, but also knowing how not to overshoot the goal.

    Your previous role may have been CFO. But if seeking a position as an accounting manager, don’t mention putting together the entire financial management strategy for a multi-million-dollar company. Wait for the interview to reveal these things. You then have the opportunity to provide context as to why you are seeking a position beneath those you held previously.

    Quality resume writing is about communicating to your reader that YOU are the proper fit. You would not wear a $5,000 suit to apply for a position as a dishwasher at a homeless shelter. You are resume is no different than you are, in that it needs to READ THE ROOM.

  • Two Resumes

    Let’s face it, when it comes to preparing our resumes for the job search, we would definitely like it to be easy. I mean, if we could prepare one, instead of two resumes that answers every question for every reader, we would be golden! Unfortunately, there are instances where a different tool is needed in your toolbox. Now, I am not talking about the task of Simply tailoring one’s resume to a job description. I am talking about the need for a completely different strategic approach. So, how do you know when there is a need to take a different strategic approach to your resume than you previously have? Below are a few examples of situations warranting this.

    Competing Skill Sets

    Some of us are very blessed, and that we can rely on a background that gives us numerous options. Why this is in fact a blessing, if approached the wrong way it actually ends up being a curse. When it comes to your resume, you do not want your reader feeling as though they are fishing through wood could be several potential skill set mixes in order to find where they fit into the equation. First, there is the issue of time. The average resume is reviewed for 10 seconds or less. That means there is no time to distract someone with content that does not relate to them. Second, even if the hiring manager where to see where your skill-set matched their requirements, they will wonder whether or not you are truly committed to the direction that the position requires. Neither of these scenarios work in your favor. If your job search is one that will be attacking different position types for Industries, you want to ensure that each one is speaking a specific language the reader. That hiring manager should not feel as though they are competing with other Industries for your services.

    Same Job, Different Industry

    Let’s say that you have been in pharmaceutical sales for the last 15 years, but you are also seeking a sales position outside of that industry. In a case such as this, the pharmaceutical sales resume will likely have a great deal of industry-specific jargon. There will be in pronounceable drug names, references to various therapeutics, and other things that may make readers from other Industries cringe. So what do you need to do question mark you need to put together a resume that pulls the focus away from the industry and back on your ability to sell. That other resume should strip away all of the industry-specific terminology and jargon so that the reader does not view you as a pigeon-holed pharmaceutical professional.

    Federal vs Private Sector

    This scenario may present the most dramatic difference in resume needs. The federal resume and private-sector resume are in fact two different and distinct animals. When it comes to your federal resume, you will want to flesh out the content and be thorough with regard to the communication of all relevant skills with regard to the position in question. Federal resumes can be quite lengthy, based upon the amount of experience one brings to the table. In contrast, your private sector resume has the goal of brevity. You rarely have situations that warrant more than two pages. As such, someone with an extensive background will have to make some tough decisions on what to exclude. Additionally, the very infrastructure of these documents is a bit different. With the federal resume, you are including much more information in the position headers then you would with the private sector resume. For those exiting the military, it is quite common to include all awards and medals on a federal resume, why only including them in the private sector version if it is very relevant to the type of position being sought. So in this case, if actively applying for positions in the public and private sector, two resumes is the bare minimum.

    No one said it would be easy. Looking for a job is hard work. Ensuring all the proper tools are in your toolbox is paramount to getting this thing done quickly, and two resumes may be just what the doctor ordered to keep your search humming along. Think of each of your readers as speaking a different language. You would not expect to have a conversation with five individuals, each speaking a different language, by using the same language. Your resume is no different. Ensure that you are speaking the language of the hiring manager, and you give yourself and your resume a great shot.

  • good-resumeHaving a good battle for your resume plan is important. Yes, a good resume definitely requires some thought as to its overall strategy. What are the requirements of the position? Who is the audience? How many competitors are you likely looking at? What are your strengths and weaknesses, and how do you best highlight them (or blur them) in a good resume? These are all valuable considerations in determining the approach you need to take to build a resume that will bring consistent success. But as is the case with any project, there is only so much planning that you can do before it gets down to whether or not you take action.

    Once you have given the strategy some thought, push it to the side for a second. Why? Because as you progress through the project, some aspects of that writing strategy may need to be amended based upon factors such as spacing, or simply how the content is blending. What you want to do is just start. That’s right, JUST START! Instead of beginning with the summary and core competencies (slightly more abstract in nature from a development standpoint), go with the more concrete information – your professional experience. After all, when it comes to your experience, there really isn’t much that is abstract about it. What you did and achieved is, well, what you did and achieved. Now, you will want to give consideration to the most important aspects to your future reader. But this is usually the bulk of the grunt work and going through this process will help when it is time to tackle the profile section, where you will “frame the argument” for calling you in.

    The truth is that you can easily end up in a vicious cycle of doubt and changing strategies – constantly reassessing the approach because there is no anchor in place to keep you with one train of thought. But when you commit to at least laying out the basics of a good resume, you begin to get into a flow that helps pull you right through the rest of the project.

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