DSC Resources

Writing Your Resume

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So you’re thinking about a career move, and you’ve begun the daunting task of updating your old resume.

Where to Start
Make a Good First Impression
Your resume is the first opportunity you’ll have to introduce yourself. Be sure your resume is written and formatted in a manner that reflects yourself as a business professional.
Get found
Utilize technical terminology such as hardware, tools, and languages to ensure your resume is easily searched from resume job boards.
Paint a Picture
Utilize descriptive action words such as “developed,” “implemented,” “mentored,” or “converted” to describe your previous responsibilities.
Contacting You
Great job opportunities can open and close in the blink of an eye. Providing numerous options for contacting you, especially during the daytime, can make the difference between a great new job and a missed opportunity. You would be surprised by how resumes are missing vital information such as telephone number, email address and name!
Highlight Your Objective
Organizations interview and fill hundreds of positions a year. State your career goals and restate the position you are applying for within the “Objective” line in order for the hiring manager to quickly identify you and the positions you are applying for.
Restate the Job Description
Use wording from the job description within your resume. Keyword matching is an important piece of the recruiting process. Having your resume match the job description will certainly elevate your place in the resume pile.
Ask for Feedback
Ask friends and colleagues to review your resume and provide constructive feedback.
Top 10 words
Words to use in a resume to describe yourself and your work history are; Achieve, Analyze, Create, Implement, Organize, Persuade, Produce, Reduce, Revitalize, Succeed. These words are powerful because they signify accomplishment.
Key Sections and Resume Order
The Objective
Decide on a specific job title for your objective. What are the two or three qualities, abilities or achievements that would make me stand out as truly exceptional?
Be sure the objective is to the point. Do not use fluffy phrases that are obvious or do not mean anything.
If you are not specific, then it is best to skip the objective and write a summary instead.
Remember, your resume will only get a few seconds attention, at best! You have to generate interest right away, in the first sentence they lay their eyes on. Having an objective statement that really sizzles is highly effective.
The Summary
The "Summary" or "Summary of Qualifications" consists of several concise statements that focus the reader's attention on the most important qualities, achievements and abilities you have to offer. Those qualities should be the most compelling demonstrations of why they should hire you instead of the other candidates. It gives you a brief opportunity to telegraph a few of your most important qualities. It is your one and only chance to attract and hold their attention, to get across what is most important, and to entice the employer to keep reading.
This is the spiciest part of the resume. This may be the only section fully read by the employer, so it should be very strong and convincing. The Summary is the one place to include professional characteristics (extremely energetic, a gift for solving complex problems in a fast-paced environment, a natural salesman, exceptional interpersonal skills, committed to excellence, etc.) which may be helpful in winning the interview. Gear every word in the Summary to your targeted goal.
How to write a Summary? Pick the stuff that best demonstrates why they should hire you. Assemble it into your Summary section.
Skills and Accomplishments
You are still writing to sell yourself to the reader, not to inform them. Basically, you do exactly what you did in the previous section, except that you go into more detail.
In the summary, you focused on your most special highlights. Now you tell the rest of the best of your story. Let them know what results you produced, what happened as a result of your efforts, what you are especially gifted or experienced at doing. Flesh out the most important highlights in your summary.
In technical resumes it is key to include the technologies you have used and are comfortable in supporting, this is more important than accomplishments as many use key word searches to find resumes. Do not include every technology you have ever used as you will get called on opportunities that are not suitable, or for which you are not qualified.
Resume Formats
There are three basic types of resumes: Chronological, Functional, and "combined" Chronological - Functional.
The chronological resume is the more traditional structure for a resume. The experience section is the focus of the resume; each job (or the last several jobs) is described in some detail, and there is no major section of skills or accomplishments at the beginning of the resume. This structure is primarily used when you are staying in the same profession, in the same type of work, particularly in very conservative fields. It is also used in certain fields such as law and academia.
The functional resume highlights your major skills and accomplishments from the very beginning. It helps the reader see clearly what you can do for them, rather than having to read through the job descriptions to find out. It helps target the resume into a new direction or field, by lifting up from all past jobs the key skills and qualifications to help prove you will be successful in this new direction or field. Actual company names and positions are in a subordinate position, with no description under each. There are many different types of formats for functional resumes. The functional resume is a must for career changers, but is very appropriate for generalists, for those with spotty or divergent careers, for those with a wide range of skills in their given profession, for students, for military officers, for homemakers returning to the job market, and for those who want to make slight shifts in their career direction.
A combined resume includes elements of both the chronological and functional formats. It may be a shorter chronology of job descriptions preceded by a short "Skills and Accomplishments" section (or with a longer Summary including a skills list or a list of "qualifications"); or, it may be a standard functional resume with the accomplishments under headings of different jobs held.
List jobs in reverse chronological order.
Don't go into detail on the jobs early in your career; focus on the most recent and/or relevant jobs. (Summarize a number of the earliest jobs in one line or very short paragraph, or list only the bare facts with no position description.)
Decide which is, overall, more impressive - your job titles or the names of the firms you worked for - then consistently begin with the more impressive of the two, perhaps using boldface type.
You may want to describe the firm in a phrase in parentheses if this will impress or inform the reader.
Put dates at the end of the job, to de-emphasize them, titles are more important.
Include military service, internships, and major volunteer roles if you do not have enough experience, and if the experience is related to your job search.
List education in reverse chronological order, degrees or licenses first, followed by certificates and advanced training. Set degrees apart so they are easily seen.
Put in boldface whatever will be most impressive. Don't include any details about college except your major and distinctions or awards you have won, unless you are still in college or just recently graduated. Include grade-point average only if over 3.4. List selected course work if this will help convince the reader of your qualifications for the targeted job.
Professional Affiliation
Include only those that are current, relevant and impressive. Include leadership roles if appropriate.
This is a good section for communicating your status as a member of a minority targeted for special consideration by employers, or for showing your membership in an association that would enhance your appeal as a prospective employee.