Four Tips to Power-Up Your Resume

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The job market is tough and it's getting tougher. Your resume is your number one marketing tool and it may not be doing its job - getting you an interview. One reason may be lack of time. With the increased competition for jobs, there is very little time spent reading any one resume. It's been estimated that today's resume is only getting about 20 seconds of "eyeball time". That's not much time to score. In fact, most resumes will get quickly screened out and dumped on the reject pile. The other reason is lack of interest. Most resumes today lack a sense of urgency. They don't answer the all-important question, "What's in it for the employer?" Here are 4 tips on how you can power up your resume for today's more competitive job search arena to overcome these dilemmas. 1. Focused Objective Does your resume have a clear, focused objective? Does it identify one clear job title that you are seeking? Leave out all that nonsense about "challenging opportunity with a dynamic company". Remember, it's not about you. Try this: lead off with a clear statement of the job title you are seeking under the Objective heading. For example, "Chief Financial Officer". Nothing more is needed. 2. Keyword Section Everyone pays lip service to this, but few act on it. If you don't, you're missing the boat in two major ways: Your resume needs to get flagged by a computer. To strengthen your odds, you need every potential keyword working for you. And not just your skill sets, either. Make sure to add all your industry buzzwords as well as your biggest soft skills. Did you know that some of the highest searched keywords today include terms we often overlook? These include "problem-solving", "leadership", and "oral/written communication". You must appeal to the human that reads your resume. A reader will scan a great keyword summary section within the first 20 seconds of looking at your resume. When added to your personal branding statement below, you increase your chances of hooking this reader and getting a more in-depth reading. 3. Personal Branding Statement It doesn't matter whether you're a CFO, a software project manager or a wedding photographer. Answer this question: "What is it that makes you unique from other applicants?" Don't think that just having great skill sets or years of experience is going to give you any edge. Lots of other candidates have the same or better skills as you. The solution is to create a brand for yourself. So how do you create your own brand? Review your resume. Does it have a clear statement that describes who you are and what you offer? This is called a "branding statement" and may also be described as a "value added" or "unique selling proposition". Don't confuse this with a "Summary of Qualifications" section that many candidates like to include. These are merely laundry lists of core competencies and do nothing to make you stand out. A true branding statement is a one-sentence description of who you are and what critical benefit you offer your next employer. It should describe your biggest strength and the resulting benefit to your previous employer. The best branding statements usually incorporate figures in dollars or percentages of money, or time that was gained or saved over a certain period of time. Here is an example for that CFO: "Seasoned Chief Financial Officer strong in optimizing organizations to achieve maximum growth and market share who has produced new revenues or savings of over $65 Million for my employers over the past eight years." Does your resume have this strong a branding statement? If not, think about adding one. It'll take some time to develop a really good statement for yourself. Once done, however, you'll break that 20-second barrier and move that much farther ahead of your competitors. 4. Specific Achievements Companies hire employees to be an asset to their balance sheet. That means your work involves helping a company either make money or save money. Think beyond your skill sets and job duties and think of as many ways as you can as to how you accomplish this. For example, suppose you're a video photographer taping and editing weddings and special events. You take the extra step of performing all of your post-production work before submitting your final results. Your extra effort has saved your employer several hundred hours of additional work. This translates into dollars saved by the employer and it's just this sort of achievement that must be on your resume. When you can, try to monetize, or put a dollar value on your achievements. Our photographer example might look like this: "Saved my employer over $6K in additional labor costs over the past 2 years by performing post-production work before submitting my final results." By including several specific achievements where you've helped your employer make or save money, you separate yourself from your competitors and quickly gain the attention of your reader. Summary As the economy gets tougher, employers expect more from candidates before they hire them. This means more is expected from your resume to make the cut these days. If you add these four crucial elements to your resume, you can power it up to win that phone interview and take a step closer to the job you really want.

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  • vivian sosu
    vivian sosu
    this is helpful. Just about to update my resume
  • Edith P.
    Edith P.
    Wow! Mr. Turner, these are some great tips for resume writing. I have read many styles of resume writing, but all of them seem so traditional. I like the idea of having a brand name and a statement that set you apart from the other applicants. I will use these tips for my upcoming job search. Thanks, Edith.
  • Bernard R.
    Bernard R.
    Comments offered were excellent forcing me to rewrite my resume!
  • Javonne B.
    Javonne B.
    I've recently had to return to work and I have years of Emergency Room Admissions with all the software skills also extensive Call Center customer service skills Many of my office/customer service skills can be transferred to another job arena, but my computer skills are exclusive to the job I've had. How can I express this on a resume, specifically in a branding statement?
  • Annette Garcia
    Annette Garcia
    I recently successfully finished my CPA course, and now a certified Payroll Practitioner. Employers and my Placement Centres would not look into my qualification in Payroll unless I have experience in that field. "Catch 22". I have more than 25 years of Acctg experience. It sure is very frustrating as I studied hard to earn my Payroll certification and would like to work in the Payroll Dept.
  • Kathleen W.
    Kathleen W.
    I've recently been terminated from a job I've held for 23 years. Many of my office/customer service skills can be transferred to another job arena, but my computer skills are exclusive to the job I've had. How can I express this on a resume, specifically in a branding statement?
  • Averil  A.
    Averil  A.
    The comments you offered were excellent.  I have to update my resume.  I feel incomplete.Averil
  • Randall
    It's all good info but words are not the person, because we don't define ourselves as writers unless that is the job we are applying for. I get different techniques from each network and have changed my resume several times so I'm not sure which one was the most powerful because I was out of work for a year
  • ana
  • Raquel B.
    Raquel B.
  • Terry
    I am a certified nursing assistant how do i sell that information or make my resume interesting
  • Audrey
    I agree with you, Randi.  It's almost impossible to know what employers want.  In this economy, they can pick and choose the best for the least amount of pay.  I have been on interviews where there have been over 200 applicants! I've followed every resume guideline and tip and yet I've gotten "nada".  I'm so frustrated because I go into businesses and the workers I encounter there are so apathetic and I wonder why they're working and I'm not.  How did they get the job in the first place and why are they still there?  If I could find a job, I'd be enthusiastic and show my employer that he hired the right person.  I'm almost tempted to ask "who do I have to sleep with to get a job?". (Joking, of course!)
  • ayesha
    I'm missing "Summery of qualification" will add that thank you, very helpful information posted.
  • Yolanda Winters
    Yolanda Winters
    I'm so glad I found this advice. It has given me a new insight into how to create my own effective resume. So many of us cannot afford to pay a professional resume writer.
  • bernard
    i need to know how to write powerful resume
  • Edward Pierce
    Edward Pierce
    These are the facts I needed to land the desired position. It explains why I haven't gotten a call back. It's time to go in and change the way I present myself.
  • Ma. Theresa Regalado
    Ma. Theresa Regalado
    The tips are very informative and useful.
  • ansar abbas
    ansar abbas
    true that Mr Joe Turner. nothing hurts like the truth, believe this is what most people write and from what i read today...that is brillant. Will be working on mine from today, more tips please...
  • Calandra Denman
    Calandra Denman
    This is the best resume info I have ever read.
  • Maurice Tyner
    Maurice Tyner
    I really enjoyed this information should this section be titled under Accomplishments
  • Ralph Valenzuela
    Ralph Valenzuela
    Dear Sir,All of your suggestion are indeed motivating, powerful. Yet simple to follow. I will be 63 yearsyoung come October(strike one)I have been in Prod.Mfg. for lets say 20 years plus. Young exuberant gangs of College & High School grads are now available for my job. For less money.(strike 2)I have hand full of recruiting sites that search the night while I sleep. Seeking out my Specialty. Although once again, I'm into Mfg.Prod. valve controls Deep water undersea equipment. I get email for Doctors (M.D) Technical people, Labwork in CSI. That's not me. (Strike 3) I may retire early seek out a Part Time Job and eat dog food.  Ralph Valenzuela
  • Kamran Keymaram
    Kamran Keymaram
    I find your comments extremley helpfully
    This is really great, I would like to try these tips.
  • Nazir Khattak
    Nazir Khattak
    I can't know before, now i know that Excellent.
  • Aidenomon Emmanuel
    Aidenomon Emmanuel
    thanks a lot.

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