Most job seekers approach writing a resume, and their job search strategy, the wrong way. They begin by listing their job chronology as their resume, including just about everything they have done in their jobs such as experience that isn’t really relevant to the position they are seeking. They then start sending out a resume that does not show why they are qualified for that position and isn’t in a format that enables the recruiter to quickly understand what they bring to that position and to the organization.

resume-writingJob seekers need to understand what organizations want to see in a resume. They need to target their resume to the type of job they want by emphasizing the skills and experience they bring to the position. I recommend that you remember these basic rules:

  1. Your resume is not your job history; it is selling you to an organization to fill a specific role. You need to emphasize the skills, accomplishments and training that will convince the organization you can do the job. Do not include other experience that is not relevant to the position.
  2. Identify what organizations seek for that type of position by doing some market research. Read a number of job descriptions for that kind of job on or You will quickly understand what you need to emphasize in your resume.
  3. Most resumes have a life of 7 to 10 seconds in a recruiter’s hand. If you can grab them in the top half of the first page in a Summary of what you bring to that position, then they will read the rest of the resume. You need to effectively summarize what you bring to that position.
  4. Don’t list each job separately if they are for the same organization; it appears from a quick scan that you have held too many jobs. Group your positions under one heading showing your career growth and success within that organization.
  5. Every organization wants to hire the candidate who not only has the experience for the position but also has been successful. Show promotions, list awards or recognition even from associations. Don’t undersell your accomplishments. Review your past annual evaluations for accomplishments.
  6. Remember that LinkedIn  is your online resume and should be very similar to your written resume. The Summary on your resume and on LinkedIn should contain the same information. Hiring managers sometimes look at a candidate’s LinkedIn profile to see if the experience listed is the same as what they see on the resume.

Steve is President of Fitzgerald Stevens & Ford and Managing Partner, OIGP Massachusetts. He has co-founded four businesses and grew a global business. Steve’s career has been spent working with corporate executives both inside organizations and in transition. His insight and coaching have helped many executives enhance their performance and achieve their goals.

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