How NOT to Write Your Resume

Job search candidates can find vast amounts of information on the Internet about how to write a resume. In fact, we publish a great deal of advice on our blog on a weekly basis. I started to think about the most important information I could share with a job seeker who wants to write his or her own resume-and that’s my motivation for writing this piece. I could write a ten-page paper chock full of rules and guidelines to follow to create a truly compelling resume. But if I had to nail down the most important tip, it would be this: RESEARCH.


Research will get you ten times farther than any other tool, tip, or trick I could share. Let me elaborate … My background is in Human Resources. I have worked in the industry for almost 15 years. I know the ins and outs and exactly what an employer wants in an HR Manager. It’s about people management, reducing turnover, shortening fill time, etc. Because I know exactly what the hiring manager needs, I can tailor my resume to speak to those needs. I will put front and center exactly how I reduced turnover-and to what percentage (it’s important to put numbers to your accomplishments whenever possible). I will give them numbers to support how I shortened the time it took to fill a vacancy as well. Each of these accomplishments saves the employer time and money and makes me a very viable candidate because I see the need and explain how I can meet and exceed their needs.


It’s critical that you know exactly what your employer expects from the person vying for the vacancy. You need to know their pain points, exactly what their needs are, and then concisely and confidently address how you’ve met those needs in the past. By using numbers and accomplishment-based statements to prove that you’ve met the need before, the employer will infer that you will meet them again.


If you’re not familiar with the requirements of the exact position you’re applying for, then you need to research what they are, and then address them in your resume. This is especially critical for those who are switching career fields. Chances are, if you’ve been in your industry or a particular position for quite some time, then you’re familiar with the needs of the potential employer. It then becomes vital to showcase your accomplishments in a way that positions you ahead of the pack. What have you accomplished that stands out? Do you have numbers to back it up? If so, include them when and where possible. Including numbers and accomplishment-based statements positions you as a top candidate.

When in the midst of a job search, it’s important to know everything possible about the type of position you’re applying for-and to customize your resume accordingly. Customizing your resume to each position you apply for will increase your resume response rate way more than just sending the same generic resume to every opening you like.

For additional tips and advice on resumes and cover letters, follow us on Twitter @GreatResume or visit our blog.

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