Powerful Resume

The Essential Elements of a Powerful Resume

There is probably no document that people are more obsessed about than their resume. Mortgage papers, a last will, and and even kids’ school records don’t receive a different intense review page-by-page than resumes do.

Be sure to include your contact information in a professional format and use a clean, professional-sounding email address. Also, make sure to list a phone number that is answered with a professional voicemail greeting.

Tailor to the Job

Few documents in a job seeker’s life receive more intensive review, page-for-page, than the resume. Even a mortgage document or a last will get a different consideration than the resume, especially when a hiring manager is reviewing the resume in a very competitive job market.

As a result, it’s essential to tailor your resume for every job you apply for. Not only does this improve your odds of getting an interview, but it also helps you convert those interviews into job offers.

Tailoring your resume starts with the basics, like your name and contact information. But, it extends to the content in your employment history, education, and skills sections. For example, a resume that is being tailored for an entry-level position should be less extensive in the experience section than one being used for a senior-level role.

The core competencies section is another critical area that should be tweaked to align with the keywords used in the specific job description.

Tell a Story

When writing a great resume, you want to tell a story that will grab the attention of your prospective employer. This can be done by adding a professional summary or objective section at the beginning of your document, followed by a career progression or accomplishments section, and finally, a list of qualifications and skills.

Each bullet point on your resume should contain a mini-story that chronicles an accomplishment or skill. 

Storytelling can also be compelling when used in other job-search documents. It can help ensure that you sound like the same person throughout your correspondence with potential employers. And that, in turn, increases your chances of securing an interview. Ideally, the climax of your story should be the day you start working for your dream employer.

Be Specific

One of the most important aspects of a powerful resume is being specific. The best way to do this is by tailoring your resume to the job description for the position you are applying for. For example, if the employer lists soft skills such as “customer service,” it is worth highlighting your customer service experience and accomplishments in the work history section of your resume.

Also, if the company emphasizes technical skills like “software programming” in the job description, it is worthwhile to include a programming skill set in your technology experience section. Avoid using subjective language such as “reliable” and “hard-working.”

Many candidates lose their audience right at the start of their resume, with general puffery in the career summary. Instead, write a short opening paragraph that clearly states the type of position you are looking for and why you would be a good fit. It is also helpful to include your preferred name and email address in this section.

Be Objective

A resume objective is a short statement at the top of your resume that describes your immediate professional goals. Traditionally, these were restricted to one or two sentences and stated your target job and what skills you hope to use in that role.

Hiring managers have a limited amount of time to look at each resume, so you want your first paragraph to grab their attention and make them want to continue reading. An effective way to do this is with a brief, eye-catching summary of your qualifications, expertise, and accomplishments that demonstrate you’ll be a valuable asset to the company.

It’s best to avoid using an objective for the sake of it, especially if you’re applying for multiple positions in the same industry. Instead, try to tailor your professional summary for each position you apply for. That will help you stand out as a candidate who is serious about the role and cares about making an impact on the company.


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