How to Make Your Resume Stand Out

As a Human Resources Manager, with 25 years of experience, I was asked for my help in writing a resume. Thousands of resumes have passed through my hands but when it comes to writing my own, it is more difficult. Most people find resume writing challenging. A resume is nothing more than a polished piece of advertising, but an important piece, especially in today’s job market.

Employers report that most resumes get only a 15-20 second glance. If you don’t capture the reviewer’s attention and interest quickly they will pass you by and call in someone else for the interview.

There is one effective technique that you can use that dramatically improves your resume. In a national survey of 600 hiring managers, the overwhelming majority said the most important part of your resume is the SUMMARY OF QUALIFICATIONS or BULLETS IN THE HEADING section. Employers reported that this was one of the very first areas they read and when the summary or bullets demonstrates solid ability to perform the job it catches their attention and they slow move down and give the applicant more careful consideration.

Hiring Managers reported only about 5% of resumes received contained this key section, and I never write a resume without it. It’s just too powerful to leave out. This section usually consists of two to four sentences that present an overview of your experience, accomplishments, talents, work habits, and skills. Think of it as a mini-outline of you; a highly influential summation of the specifics you bring to the job.

Here is a good example from one of the resumes I wrote for a client:

SUMMARY OF QUALIFICATIONS

A proven human resources expert with over 25 years of HR leadership experience growing sustainable HR practices. Primary focus is aimed at maximizing positive employee relations and organizational development practices to solve business problems.

  • Proactive Employee Relations Programs
  • Organizational Rightsizing
  • Conflict Mediation
  • Compensation Plan Development
  • Executive Coaching
  • HRIS and Payroll Implementation
  • Training Development and Presentation
  • Benefit Plan Design and Reporting
  • Immigration Expertise
  • Merger and Acquisition Experience

It is easy to see by reading this brief summary and focusing on the bullets how this candidate is qualified to perform as a Human Resources Director. Indeed, she got several interviews and accepted a Fortune 100 companies offer, which included a very significant salary raise and signing bonus.

The SUMMARY OF QUALIFICATIONS, which speaks volumes by consolidating the best you have to bring to the job, really makes you stand out and pulls the employer in for a closer look. Be sure that your resume has this essential section. It comes right after your name, address and career objective. One caution — employers complain that many people lie on their resume. Exaggeration! Misrepresentation! LYING is a deadly error. Do not do it!

Employers do more background checks now than ever before so when you are caught, and eventually you will be exposed, you will likely be fired. Only solid facts and verifiable experience should highlight your experience and accomplishments.

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