4 Tips on Writing a Resume That Sells Your Skills

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WorkingIn today’s talent market, your resume is no longer a simply summary of your work history or an exhaustive list of job duties. In order to be successful in your job hunt, you need to create a resume that utilizes career-marketing tactics to sell your skills and prove your value above competing job candidates.

A resume that leads to better job opportunities must contain the right keywords, powerful action verbs, expanded job details and results, and a targeted format.

1. Use Keywords

Keywords are a necessary component of your resume. Does your resume shine with keywords that match the skills the prospective employer seeks in a candidate?

Keywords are commonly known as “core competencies.” In order for your resume to pass through an employer’s applicant tracking system (ATS), you’ll have to make sure you mention the right keywords and core competencies. The ATS seeks out certain keywords in every resume, enabling employers to select only candidate with the qualifications, skills, and credentials needed to fill the position. If your resume lacks the keywords employers are looking for, the ATS will toss it out.

The keywords you want to include on your resume will depend on the specific job to which you are applying. Read the job description closely to get a feel for the key skills and competencies a company is looking for, and try to use language from the description in your resume.

2. Deploy Action Verbs

Action verbs can make or break a resume. Job candidates should always avoid using the adjective “responsible.” It is simply an empty word. It lacks action, and it does not tell the reader of your resume about what you actually did.

Remember when your English teacher would say, “Show me, don’t tell me”? The same applies to resume writing. Every sentence about your professional experience should begin with a powerful action verb.

What is an action verb? Action verbs are words that express actions somebody has committed. Examples of powerful action verbs include: accomplish, administer, advise, analyze, coordinate, design, direct, evaluate, facilitate, implement, identify, supervise, utilize, and transform.

3. List Your Job Details and Results

HandsTruth be told, it is hard to write down what you do on a day-to-day basis. So, take a step back and make a list of the top 5-7 tasks you handle or are responsible for at your company. Do you schedule client appointments? Do you supervise or train other employees? Do you do research or analysis of spreadsheets? Do you serve as a liaison to the executive management?

While conveying the details of your work histories, we must also go a step further and discuss our job results. Results can include awards you’ve received, major contributions you made to the company, representative engagements, and even large projects you’ve led or managed.

If your resume only includes job functions and excludes job results, this can make you appear as an average candidate, instead of a candidate who goes above and beyond the call of duty. It is recommended that you list at least three results and accomplishments for each position you’ve held.

4. Format Your Resume Properly

There is an array of templates out there on the Internet that can help you choose a look for your resume. However, keep in mind that, when you send in your resume, an employer will look at it for an average of about six seconds. Consider, too, the fact that hundreds of other applicants may be applying for the same job. It is in your best interest to create a resume that is clean, clear, and concise, with a font that is easy on the eyes. Sans-serif fonts such as Tahoma or Calibri are highly recommended for resumes due to their easy readability.

Additionally, remember to hit the most important topics and headings on your resume:  work experience, education, skills, and certifications. Always center your headings, as a reader’s eyes naturally gaze at the center of a page.

A resume is, ultimately, a sales pitch. Your resume must sell your skills clearly, confidently, and assertively if you want to move on to the next step: the interview.

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Wendi Weiner is an attorney, former college writing professor, and Nationally Certified Resume Writer (NCRW) -- a certification that only 43 other resume writers hold in the country. It is a certification that ranks her as one of the “best resume writers in the industry.” Wendi is also a Certified Professional Resume Writer (CRPW) and a Credentialed Career Manager (CCM). She is a member of numerous professional associations for resume writers, and she was elected to serve on the 2016 Board of Directors for The National Resume Writers’ Association. Wendi is a published authority in the resume industry and has been quoted by The Huffington Post and Business News Daily. She frequently speaks at local colleges and for organizations on resume writing, LinkedIn profiles, and interviewing skills. Wendi is the owner of The Writing Guru, a resume firm based in Miami, Florida, with national clientele.