Start the Year Off Right with a Resume Rewrite

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Posted by The Editors on January 6, 2012
Start the Year Off Right with a Resume Rewrite

After a long break from email and general Internet use over the holidays, I had to get back in the swing of things this week. One of the first things I came across was a list of the most overused words on LinkedIn. I won’t tell you how many I’m guilty of using, but a potential solution was staring me right in the face: The Oxford American College Dictionary.

At Christmas, I was the lucky recipient of a Kindle Fire. I’ve downloaded a few more titles onto it—some for pleasure, some to help with the fulfillment of New Year’s resolutions—but the only book that came already on it: A dictionary, this time Merriam-Webster. I wonder if someone or something is trying to send me a message….

I mentioned retouching your resume at the end of last year, but maybe you’re in need of a full rewrite: an overhaul at the most basic, verbal level. What is your resume telling people? Or your LinkedIn profile (a resume in another form, really)? Below are a few tips I picked up from an interview with an MBA grad involved in corporate recruiting just before the holidays.

1. Actions
Look at how you’ve listed your experiences, and take a close look at the words that start each statement. “You should start every point with a verb: Led the team, delivered this report or experience, cut cost. Whatever it is, it starts with a verb of what the action was.” Cut out passive constructions like “Responsible for…” and replace them with concrete actions.

2. Quantities and Impact
After revisiting these action words, focus on the impact of your actions: as my source put it, “what the relevant quantitative impact to the company was.” Whether it’s expressed in dollar amounts or percentages, make it clear what you accomplished and how it affected the bottom line for your employer or its clients.

3. Objective?
It’s a common resume feature for a lot of recent grads and entry-level hires, but expressing your goals and interests in a potential employer, might not help your case. “I haven’t seen an objective statement that makes me care,” my source told me. “When it comes down to it, I don’t care what you’re looking for. I care what you’re going to offer my company.” With this in mind, try out a summary of skills in place of an objective.

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