8 Awesome resume tips from the experts

When I was younger, I absolutely hated school. I hated the process, the people, and especially learning things that I didn't care about and didn't think I would ever use in life. It just wasn't for me.

When I got to college, and realized there were more specialized classes I could take on things that interested me, it opened up a whole new window to learning and growing. It turns out, the girl who didn't like things like math and science in high school actually LOVED classes like astronomy, and especially the astronomy lab. Since then, I have become obsessed with learning AND teaching others what I've learned.

So they key to learning for me, and I think a lot of people, is practical application, as well as learning from someone who is a great teacher. Almost nothing is more practical than resume writing; its something nearly everyone will have to do in their life and it can be very tricky to get right, even when you have the right skills. And there are so many amazing and knowledgeable voices on the internet that have helped shape me in this field.

Here are some of the best resume tips from people who really know their stuff!

Best resume tips
You should be aware that many, many professional resume writers aren’t very good at what they do. I see a lot of resumes that were professionally done that are pretty awful and need lots of help.

I also see a lot that have recognizable hallmarks of “a professional resume writer was here,” and those hallmarks are not good ones. (For example, you do not want the words “core competencies” on your resume.)
So what does set you apart? What makes you not merely qualified for this job, but more qualified than everyone else who’s applying? What puts you in the top 1 percent? Why are you unique? Why are you special? Why are you awesome?

Figure that out, then put it on your resume – because in the end, it’s the only thing that really matters.
Employers’ eyes are naturally drawn to the words they’re looking for — the brand names, skills, and experience they need — so make sure you include these terms on your resume. And, be as specific as possible. For instance, “Experience with Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign through the production of 12 issues of on-campus magazine” is much stronger than “Design Experience.

The best way to find the right words to use is to look at online job listings for the kinds of positions you’re interested in and the LinkedIn profiles of people who have the positions you want. Then use some of the prominent words and phrases in those job listings and profiles throughout your resume.
You might not have thought about it, but in-house recruiters know that people with long commutes have more stress and often eventually quit “because of the commute.” If you quit, they don’t look good, AND they have to replace you. That’s more work, with no more money, for them.

When you put your address on your resume, believe me, they do the math. If your commute would be longer than what’s known to be tolerable long-term, your resume often finds its way into the “maybe” or “no” pile.
DON’T try to use a “one size fits all” resume. You will increase your odds of a successful job search by tailoring your resume for particular jobs.
Just like kids going to school to show off their new toy or special teddy bear, you want your resume to show and share the best of the best you have to offer. Use Accomplishment stories on your resume. No one should be using job responsibilities to describe their work on the resume. BORING. Use strong verbs that describe the skill or action you want to highlight for the employer.
Skills are transferable from job to job, employer to employer and industry to industry – more than most people realize.
If you have a string of jobs where you lasted in them for less than 2 years you’re most likely going to the “pass” pile. In my opinion, it takes at least 18 months to two years for anyone to make a real impact on a company. The first year is really just about getting your bearings, learning about the company and building the relationships which will help you accomplish things in the future. So if you’re gone in anything less than two years, I’m not sure what you really could have accomplished that will be lasting.

Now, I understand the economy plays a role here and layoffs, mergers, etc are a way of life and it’s not always your choice to leave a job. The best resumes I’ve seen deal with that upfront – they either briefly provide the circumstances around any short stints in a cover letter or in the resume itself. Doesn’t mean you’ll get the job but it keeps you from getting ruled out right of the bat.

- Andy Porter for Fistful of Talent

Click through some of the blog links, and I promise you'll pick up some amazing tips-get your learn on!


Alyssa Johnson