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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  • Linda Masters
    Linda Masters
    This is as good as it gets. Thank You
  • Jeannie Robinson
    Jeannie Robinson
    Very helpful article.  Will apply it to my resume.
  • Steve Dill
    Steve Dill
    This is a great article for any medical sales representative looking for a new job in medical sales.  As a former recruiter, I estimate that only about 10% of the resumes I received were written properly.
  • Candace S
    Candace S
    This is awesome information. I suppose other jobbing sites have something similar yet not this extensive. After reading your article I have rewriten my resume.
  • John Scanlan
    John Scanlan
    To Pam Rippy:  of course you have a wow statement somewhere!  What about your attendance record, your safety record, the compliments from parents that you have received over the years?  Think about that stuff and I bet you can come up with one.
  • Stacey Holman
    Stacey Holman
    Thanks for your help. I will use and start to revise my resume where it can be marketable to employers. Now that I know to add a power statement and cover page that attracts employers to hire and not just review my Resume. My Resume will not just only be reading material but get a job to be hired.
  • R Jamison
    R Jamison
    Mr. Turner, Very well put, I have been in the job market since Feb. 2009. I must have updated my resume about 10 times already. I have taken the job readiness class and all that. I still haven't gotten any reply from all the resumes I have submitted. I know life is all about chances. Men must realize simplicity is the key to life. Life was much better years ago went one went into an office filled out an application got a interview, went home and waited for a call, not these days, going to a company  is no more. You will be sent home with a website.
  • Kevin Kinney
    Kevin Kinney
    clear and concise indeed, however, i was wondering if you guys could send me more in the way of example's of dressing up my current portfolio?
  • Pam Rippy
    Pam Rippy
    This was very interesting but I do not have a drop dead wow experience.  I have been a school bus driver for 22 years and just recieved my Bachleor degree.  
  • Grace Hager
    Grace Hager
    what is the turn around time to become re-employed after a mssive lay off?why are employers being so picky?
  • Ms. Gayathri Parthasarathy
    Ms. Gayathri Parthasarathy
    Hi!Absolutely true. Did you also know that not just a smashing resume, but a highly targeted (not with just flashy adjectives) cover letter with a contact name and personalized information also achieves results- like not being dumped into the trash? Be creative, out of the box, but - be creative. Your personality should shine here!   Best wishes, Gai
  • Ilene Trupia
    Ilene Trupia
    The tips you gave were very insightful and I also want to throw my resume away. I will adjust it's contents and hope it gets better results. Would like to see a sample though.
  • Tiffany Fields
    Tiffany Fields
    This is very helpful information and it has given me a lot to think about because i have already posted my resume recently, but the only problem is that i have not had any previous job experiences because i am hearing impaired but i speak very well. I have been living with social security benefits almost all my life. So,this lifelong experience has made me feel that i want to have a career in the future. I am in college now for the first year and i am wondering how i can become more productive so that i can be a part of the workforce.
  • Shirley Baker
    Shirley Baker
    I enjoyed reading tips to power up your resume. It made things very clear to me. I understand what employers are looking for. A branding statement. It gives me something to think about. Thanks alot.
  • Dinesh Kumar
    Dinesh Kumar
    I like the article on writing resumes. My opinion is that anyone can write a good resume if put the effort into it and still not get the job especially in this economy. One problem I have is as soon as they find out I am an older mature person in the interview all bets are off. It seems to me that they would rather have a much younger generation.
  • Karen
    I like the article on writing resumes. My opinion is that anyone can write a good resume if put the effort into it and still not get the job especially in this economy. One problem I have is as soon as they find out I am an older mature person in the interview all bets are off. It seems to me that they would rather have a much younger generation.
  • Joyce Cano
    Joyce Cano
    Fantastic!  Thank you for these 100 percent wonderful tips that has been added to my daily journal. I am currently editing my resume and added my personal branding statement to power up my resume.  You are the best!!!
  • Adepoju Fowokan
    Adepoju Fowokan
    This is a great tool,you have given me the confidence on how to make a better resume.
    This is the best article I have ever read about enhancing resumes. The more difficult part is the actual preparation of the resume. It is very demanding to find the right words to express yourself in a selling way.
  • edwin ndhine
    edwin ndhine
    very well put and speaks for its self
  • arlyn intia
    arlyn intia
    thanks for the information, it helps me to develop in writing my great!
  • Chiamaka Orah
    Chiamaka Orah
    That was a very nice Tips to Power-Up my Resume.
  • Peter Kriel
    Peter Kriel
    Thank you very much for all the comments. It was very helpful, interesting and motivating.
  • fatty jay
    fatty jay
    what wounderful information, that's great of you guys, but what if there is no branding statement to back up your resume, how do you go about it?
  • Anyanwu Ozichi Nwando
    Anyanwu Ozichi Nwando
    I find these CV tips very  interesting .Pls can you show me a sample of a well written CV for a Chemical Engineer who wants to work as a Process Engineer but doesn't have a working experience yet (just left school)

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