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Creating a Spectacularly Effective Resume

As you probably are aware, dear job seeker, resumes are your launching pad, nothing more; but certainly nothing less. Once your resume has got you in the door, the rest is up to you.

Think of a well-constructed resume as a huge calling card, albeit with a lot more captivating information about your accomplishments.

The basic thrust of a resume is to sell YOU.

Your task is to convince the person in charge of hiring that your qualifications are one-of-a-kind.

Granted, your education and job history may mirror that of many other candidates, but a creatively designed, impactful resume will draw the attention of the people whose job it is to ferret out the crème de la crème.

What does your resume look like? Does it say: “this is what I can bring to the table”, in easily discernible categories, and in encapsulated form”?

Hiring managers don’t have time to peruse through pages and pages of every little thing you’ve done since the time you were in grade school. Distill everything into a pattern of skills and backgrounds that combine to indicate who you are and what you do, in a marketable format.

Problems People Run Into When Writing Resumes –  Too Generic – If you’re like many job seekers, your previous job searches may have resulted in responses that ran the gamut from “You don’t have enough experience” to “You are totally overqualified  for this position.”  If it seems like you’ll never find a middle ground when creating a resume, think again. What’s required of you is to selectively and accurately portray your job history and qualifications, and then to tailor the content to suit the job description.

What do I mean?  If you’re applying for a spot as a video producer, and your background is chock-full of relevant AND non-relevant skills – say, script writing (relevant) and dog grooming (not relevant)– you’d be better off with more than one resume. Your foundation will remain the same, but you’ll move around the  qualifications to focus specifically on the job at hand.

You might call the original resume: Template Resume – 2015 (the date will help you keep track of your efforts; you may strike out in different fields in years to come).

The resume which highlights your video production capabilities might be termed: Video Production Resume – 2015.   You’ll name the third resume: Script Writing Resume – 2015.  The fourth: Dog Grooming Resume – 2015. Are you catching on?

Too Lot of Information To Convey – It’s wonderful . that you have so much experience under your belt,  but if you don’t shine a spotlight on the points that are of interest to the person vetting resumes, your qualifications will be overlooked.

The areas of your resume which correspond to the sort of job you’re applying for should be in bold font. Here’s an example:

Background: Job Listing –  –Looking for qualified Efficiency Expert. Able to hone in on areas of a small non-profit that need trimming and re-purposing.  Seeking proficient grant writer with five years’ experience in the public sector.  Must have current driver’s license with untarnished record. Contacts in the arena of government funding.  Will pay for relocation.

Relevant Resume – Partial

Josephine LaCosta

324 Hemming Circle

Mount Scope, TX  73711

Vocational Objective:  To bring my problem-solving and grant-writing capacities to a non-profit group.



Seven years at Department of Social Services, Los Siglos, CA  – Worked in Public Affairs Department as a grant writer. Revamped departmental budget. Elected to spearhead pilot re-application program. 

(Body – Structured listing of pertinent jobs and achievements.)


Miscellaneous:  Willing to relocate.  Valid driver’s license. Examplery driving record.

References available upon request. 

In a Nutshell – What Your Recruiter is Looking For – Key words and Format

Keep in mind that the initial vetting procedure is usually done by machine. This is due to the sheer number of resumes, and should not be an obstacle to your job search if you include the key words and format.

Utilize keywords which are a perfect match with the ones used in the ad – as long as they accurately reflect your capacilities. And, once the tracking system has selected you, you’ll have a few seconds on average to make the final grade, which your resume is perused by a human.

The information that you wish the reviewer to glean should be immediately evident.

The last thing you want is for a hiring manager or recruiter to have to hunt-and-peck for what they’re looking for.

For example, if your target needs “resourceful”; “experienced”; “ethical” and “stable”, it would help if you include those source words in your resume.

Creative License? Or A Loose Interpretation?

Be careful not to improvise to the point where you’re fabricating, however. It’s one thing to invoke a creative license and another entirely to make something up. Either you are or you are not all of the expressed qualifiers, and it’s up to you to determine that there’s a fit.  If you try to fit a square peg into a round hole, it won’t stay put. You may achieve your short-term goal of a successful application, but, in a bad match, your employment is not likely to last long.

Keep Your Resume On the Web

Additionally, make sure your resumes are where search engines can find them. Many companies rely on sourcing, or scouring the ‘net – again, using especially selected keywords – for appropriate resumes.

Two Tips

Tip:  Widely used tracking systems cannot “read” .jpg. (The older tracking systems can’t read PDF, either.)

Yes, .jpg and PDF files add a certain finish or polish to your resume, but keep in mind that its attractive formatting will all be for naught if these applicant tracking systems, which can only read word or text files, can’t locate your resume.  Or, if you reply directly, the system might not be able to decipher it.

As mentioned, newer applicant tracking systems will be able to pick up on PDF files.  If you’re intent on using PDF – and many job seekers are opting for the publishing-house-ready look of a resume published in PDF format – you do stand a chance of having regular search engines find you; they search by key words, and can read PDF.

Finally, don’t insert tables or charts into your resume.  Many times, these will be re-arranged by older versions of Word. Keep the font and type and margins simple (the latter, about 0.6 inches).  This will make them printer-friendly, so they can print on all printers.

Make things easy for your recruiter, and your resume may just be the one she or he is looking to pass along to the person with the authority to hire you.

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