Talent Perspectives

More Effective Resumes - GET NOTICED!

Ross Statham, Editor, & Jeff Bowler, Contributing Writer

May 7, 2020 Revision


You've got great skills sets, a solid education and the right levels of experience to do the job.  You've accomplished much already, and are looking for a fresh challenge.  But do you fully communicate all of that in your resume?  Perhaps.   Most people could do better.

We review a large numbers of resumes each week (sometimes several hundred), and resumes that follow these guidelines are those that get a much closer look from us and from our clients.  We encourage you to learn what works.

  • Put your name, address (or at least your city and state), cell phone number and email on your resume.  Ideally you should indicate "Cell/text" if you can accept text messages.  We look for people with excellent communications skills, and we call candidates to discuss the job and to see how well they communicate with us.  Some technical people leave off their cell phone numbers, wanting to only be contacted via email.  Not a good move.  Resumes we receive without phone numbers are usually discarded.

  • Add your LinkedIN profile URL right underneath your name and address (and make sure your profile's up to date.)  Get someone to take your photo with your phone and add it.  Many hiring managers-- and any recruiter worth their salt-- would like to find you on LinkedIn, so help them find you!

  • Format your resume with the right fonts and headers.  Use a 10 point Arial or 12 point Times Roman for body; use a 14 point for headings.  Make your resume where it's easy to visually scan.  Bullet points are especially helpful.  We strongly recommend them.

  • Resume coaches say "brevity is better." We disagree.  There is nothing wrong with a resume that runs to four, five or more pages, provided it's describing things helpful to the hiring process as described below.  However-- bullet points and well-organized information is the format you should follow.

  • Be 100% honest with your statements and listed accomplishments.  No fluff, no exaggerations.

  • Top left summary.  Many candidates' resumes have an "Objectives" section at the top of their resume.  We encourage you change this to a "Summary" section that briefly describes you, including your experience, education, years of experience, etc; this makes it easier for we and our clients to get a quick read about who you are.

  • Many technical candidates have a whole section entitled "Technical Skills" or "Technical Experience."  If you think having this listed in your resume helps-- especially during key word searches-- then do so!

  • Ideally you would have headings on your resume in this order (with supporting text under each): "Summary", "Certifications", "Professional Experience", "Technical Qualifications" and "Education".

  • Don't just say where you worked-- describe what positive things you ACCOMPLISHED.  If you brought a project in under budget, if you shortened a delivery cycle, if you tightened up security, you fixed a software problem, you won an award, or if you make a client happy, SAY SO.  Accomplishments, even small ones, get noticed.

  • Get a family member or friend to proofread your work.  (Other wize u wil hAve embarasing typose.) 

  • Run it by your recruiter (like us).  We'll tell you where to tweak it and help you make it even more effective.

  • Do your research when you submit a resume.  Put a cover letter on top of your resume that discusses why you meet ALL (or at least 95%) of the requirements and job description, and if possible, address it directly to the hiring manager.  This is the mark of a real professional and shows that you've taken the time and energy to read the requirements carefully, to visit their website and do your homework. 


Hope you find these suggestions to be of help no matter where you land, and best of luck in your job search!


If you found this article to be helpful, please let us know- and share it with others. All the best!. ross.statham@dogwoodservices.com, jbowler@dogwood.net

Talent Perspectives: Insights for Busy Professions is a series of brief articles that help build winning teams, provide insight on talent and provide organizational development ideas.  The opinions expressed herein are those of the authors and are (C) Dogwood Services Inc.

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