WRITE A RESUME THAT SELLS YOU

This format for "Writing A Resume That Sells You" comes from years of experience viewing thousands of resumes, and I’ve learned recently is almost identical to the format that the Harvard Business School requires their students to use. This format is designed with the busy executive in mind, to be read and understood very quickly, and to get your key selling points, your key strengths, to really stand out. Your resume only has 15-20 seconds to be accepted or rejected, and with that in mind, if you follow this format, your resume will rise to the top of the stack for those jobs that are right for you.

We have laid out the instructions in essentially the format that your resume should be written in. Simply replace the text below with the appropriate information as directed, and your resume will be properly formatted for a quick, easy reading by that all too busy hiring manager that you hope to speak with. One suggestion here, don't use a pre-formatted template, such as those found in Word and other software programs. These templates may make the initial writing easier, but they make changes very difficult and time consuming. For the long term, it is easier to simply use a blank document, and start typing.

Font and size: Use either Arial, Times New Roman, or a similar very basic font. Do not use fancy scripts, and only use Bold and Italics for very specific words, titles, or phrases. For example, I always Bold the company name, and I like to Bold and Italic the position title. The largest Font should be size 12, with smaller fonts down to a 10 or even a 9 (never smaller than 9) for bullet points and indented information. Do not Italicize the entire resume, it’s harder to read. Don’t use fancy fonts either, for the same reason.

Your Name Here (Bold)

Street address (smaller font)

City, state, zip

Primary phone

Long term phone (i.e. stable relative)

Email

Objective

Never put an objective statement. Your objective is the same as everyone else's’, to get the best job you can. Objectives never opened the door for anyone, they either just take up valuable marketing space and do nothing, or if your objective is not in line with what the person reading it wants to see, then they rule you out without your background being considered. Again, this is just my opinion, but my opinion is to Never put an objective statement.

Career Summary

Again, although usually not detrimental, it uses valuable first page space and can push a key selling point to the second or third page, where it may be missed. I can glance at a well-written resume and summarize your career in 10 seconds (faster than I can read your career summary.)

Education

Highest Degree Obtained (spelled out, not abbreviated), Completion year. Major, Minor course of studies. (GPA only if recent degree and high GPA.) School, city, state (do not put street address, zip, or other contact information)

Next Highest Degree (if applicable), Completion year.

Major, Minor course of studies. GPA if recent degree and high GPA.

School, city, state

Other Degrees as Applicable, using same format as above.

Note, if you have less than a Bachelors degree, and are applying based on experience, then education should come at end of resume, not at front.

Experience

Current or Most Recent Employer Company Name Here. City, State. Month/Year Started through Present or Month/Year Ended. (Spell out words, do not use ‘10/98 – 12/00’. Much more professional is ‘October 1998 through…’

If more than one position held with this employer, then put one or two sentences here to describe type of business, size in revenues, employees, beds, number of facilities, other information that will provide good idea of scope of business and your responsibility within it.

(Note: If you had multiple positions within one organization, list organization and start/finish dates as main header, and then break down each position as subheading within that, indented, as follows.)

Current or last Title with this organization.

Month/Year Started through Month/Year Ended

One or two sentences describing your department size, scope of responsibility, etc. Use here only if more than one position within this organization. {If this is your only position with this company, then this part should replace above paragraph.}

  • Current /most recent position should have 5 – 10 bullet pointed accomplishments.
  • Accomplishments should be listed as phrases, not sentences, for faster scanning and understanding.
  • Accomplishments should have specific, measurable results for company
  • For example, implemented/initiated XYZ program for ABC department, increasing revenues by $XX per month/quarter/year.

Your Name Here. Page 2, Continued {DON'T DO THIS, unless you do it in the header! Emailing resumes changes the placement, and this often winds up somewhere other than at the top of the page where you left it. }

  • Initiated LMN program for DEF department, decreasing expenses by over $XX per month/quarter/year.
  • Keep in mind that you are writing a piece of marketing material, not a job description.
  • This format is designed to place your resume at the top of the stack, not in the middle (or bottom).
  • It should be clean, neat, organized, with substantial measurable contributions that you have made to current and previous employers.
  • This information should be easy to find in 30 seconds or less.

Previous Title with this organization.

“Month/Year Started” through “Month/Year Ended”

  • One or two sentences describing your department size, scope of responsibility, etc
  • Whether previous job with same employer, or with previous employer (i.e. if only had one job with current employer) the previous position should have fewer bullet points than current or most recent position has.
  • 4-7 bullet pointed accomplishments is about right for second job on resume.
  • Bullet points should NOT be sentences. Phrases are easier to read and understand.
  • I’ll say it again, you’re resume has 30 seconds. Each person reading it is looking for 3 things. Each person is looking for 3 different things from the other persons.
  • Design your resume so that it is quick and easy for each person to find the 3 things they are looking for.

Previous Employer Company Name Here. City, State.

“Month/Year Started” through “Present or Month/Year Ended”.

Again, one or two sentences describing organization, i.e., type of business, size in revenues, employees, beds, number of facilities, other information that will provide good idea of scope of business and your responsibility within it.

  • The farther back you go, the fewer bullet pointed accomplishments you will use.
  • The third position back should have 3-6 bullet points.
  • Of course, use your own judgment. If you have only had 2 titles in 15 years, and you really need more bullet points per title to brag on your accomplishments, (not your job description) then use more.

Previous Employer Company Name Here. City, State.

“Month/Year Started” through “Present or Month/Year Ended”.

As you get back to your earlier positions, you don’t need many, if any, bullet points. Often just the title will do.

  • Rule of Thumb, the more words you have on your resume, the less your resume will get read.
  • If you resume is difficult to read, or has to be studied to get a sense of who you are, it will often be set aside for the easier to read ones.

Certifications, Publications, Other Education (i.e. non-degree training), Other Categories that apply to your specific career track go here.

  • Spell out specific certifications. Not everyone knows what your career initials mean; make sure you don’t miss out because someone else is not knowledgeable in your field.
  • Indent and bullet point each one
  • Year of completion, if applicable
  • Status; Current or expired

EXCEPTION. Certain Designations/Certifications should be at the top, right behind your name, such as CPA (Certified Public Accountant), FNP (Family Nurse Practitioner), MBA (Masters of Business Administration) or other career specific designations.

Personal

A resume is a business/career marketing document. The general consensus is that you should leave the personal stuff off, but sometimes a shared interest can open the door, so I'll leave this one up to you.

“References Available upon Request”. Of course they are. No need to write this either.

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