CareerOwl Featured Career Article

3 Things Your Resume Must Do
copyright © by Kevin Donlin

In today's economy, almost every classified ad in the paper or online produces a flood of resumes -- sometimes hundreds of them.

That means your resume must immediately stand out from the rest. Or you'll never get called for the interview you want.

Kevin Donlin
Kevin Donlin

So, here are three ways to make YOUR resume stand out, get read ... and get results!

1) Focus on the job you want

You must tell employers exactly what you can do for them. Don't make them figure it out. They may reach the wrong conclusion or get bored and discard your resume.

To stay focused, I recommend you start your resume with one of two headings: Objective or Summary.

An objective with a job title is the best way to start your resume. It proves you know exactly what job the employer is trying to fill. Example:

Network Administrator where three years of experience and training will add value.

If you don't know the job title, start with a summary. This will focus the reader on your valuable skills, while giving you some flexibility to apply for different jobs.


Seeking a position where proven skills in graphic design will add value. Creative, highly motivated and deadline-savvy. Superior work habits and layout skills.

2) Focus on achievements and results

Your resume should focus on the good things you've done for previous employers or while in school. By contrast, most resumes focus on duties and responsibilities, which forces the employer to read between the lines and guess at your true value.

Be specific, using dollars and numbers where possible. Example:

* Reduced administration expenses by $5.1 million, cut $1.2 million from 1998 operating budget, and saved $110,000 by evaluating vendor contracts (all in 1997).

3) Use easy-to-read language

Follow the advice of Winston Churchill, who said: "Use short, old words."

Most resumes don't. Their writers are convinced that big words make them sound smarter and more accomplished.


Filling your resume with words like implementation (set up, start), utilization (use) and facilitation (help) will only make the reader's job harder. It will NOT make you sound smarter.

The job market hasn't been this tough in 10 years or more. To stand out and get noticed, your resume should focus on the job you want, focus on achievements and results, and be easy to read.

Best of luck to you!

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Kevin Donlin is Managing Editor of 1 Day Resumes. The 1DR writers provide same-day, one-on-one resume writing assistance. He is also author of "Resume and Cover Letter Secrets Revealed," a do-it-yourself manual that will help you find a job in 30 days ... or your money back. For more information, click here.

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