Craft a résumé that has wow power

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Getting the job is about getting noticed. Here are nine tips to make your résumé stand out:

  1. Upload an eye-catching résumé to your application instead of using the USAJOBS résumé builder.
  2. Tailor your job summaries on your résumé to parallel the qualification factors and duties identified on your target job’s vacancy announcement.
  3. Your summary of your current job will receive exponentially more attention from hiring managers than summaries of earlier jobs. Therefore, under most circumstances, it will warrant more space than summaries of earlier jobs.
  4. Pack your job summaries with relevant, impressive specifics — not vague statements. For example, a job summary on a résumé targeting a communications job should say more than “wrote documents.” It should review the varied types of communications the applicant produced, their target audiences and resulting press coverage. Don’t try to compensate for required credentials with filler about irrelevant credentials. For example, an application for a speechwriting job will be doomed if it glosses over speechwriting experience but details experience writing manuals.
  5. Show the importance of your achievements by reviewing their positive impacts. State the titles of executives who approved or benefitted from your work and attended events/presentations you led. Provide metrics such as the value of the budget/contracts you manage; cost and time savings you produced; the number of people served by your work products; audit and survey results you helped improve; and any precedents/records you set. Cite your reputation for meeting tight deadlines.
  6. Mention objective, positive feedback such as promotions, awards, excellent annual reviews and the size of large audiences of events/trainings/presentations you produced and the positive responses of audiences.
  7. Craft your résumé for fast skimming by formatting for emphasis your name and graduate degrees, certifications, security clearances and the names of your employers. Format each job summary as a series of bullets. Start each bullet with an action verb. Google “résumé action verbs” for ideas.
  8. Consider including a “Career Highlights” section in your résumé that mentions how many years of experience you have and tersely summarizes your top credentials, degrees, relevant early experience and other important credentials that would otherwise be buried in your résumé. Also, cite your LinkedIn profile that may be hyperlinked to your work products or articles about your work.
  9. Write your résumé in plain language so that hiring managers who are unfamiliar with your job/organization will understand it. Explain acronyms.
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About Author

Lily Whiteman is a federal communications expert and author of “How to Land a Top-paying Federal Job,” and a trainer of career advancement skills and communication skills. Her website is IGotTheJob.net. Ask your career questions by email to lwhiteman@federaltimes.com or by Twitter to @Lilymwhiteman.

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