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What your resume’s gotta have to make it effective

Today we have a guest post from a colleague of mine, Melanie Szlucha. An attractive, well written resume will help  you stand out from the flood of applicants. Melanie works with each client to understand their unique background and then develops intelligent, professional, eye-catching resumes targeted to the positions or industries the candidate is applying for. To schedule a FREE 10 minute consultation, visit or contact her at  203-866-1606.

You feel like you’re submitting your resume to every possible job under the sun, but you just can’t get any traction.  In the back of your mind is this nagging suspicion that it’s not them, but your resume that could be the problem.  But what should a good resume have? You’ve got your past jobs on there with dates, shouldn’t that be enough? 


A resume needs to be an attractive, readable, interesting document that makes the employer want to get to know you more.  Think of it like an enticing description of a dish on a menu.  When you go to a restaurant for the first time, you have no idea what you’re going to order.  You have to rely on the descriptions to entice you and steer you in one way or another—ideally for the restaurant toward the highest priced item.  They don’t just list the ingredients of the dish, but the description pulls the whole thing together and makes it sound appetizing.

Is your resume enticing to an employer?  Here’s what turns them on. 

RESULTS:  Employers have GOT to see that you get results for the work you do.  How effective are you?  There’s a difference between not increasing sales at all, and seeing a 34% increase–so put that on the resume!  How have you affected the company since you’ve been there? 

CAREER SUMMARY: This takes the place of the Objective at the top of your resume.  A career summary should give an employer a thumbnail view of who you are as an employee–think of it as a thesis statement on your old high school research papers.  DO NOT simply provide a shopping list of qualities such as:  hard working, dedicated, loyal, or the phrase attention to detail.  They are on EVERYONE’s resume–trust me, I’ve seen my fair share.   Instead paint yourself as if you’re an enticing dish on a menu and write something truly descriptive like this:   “Syndicated/qualitative research professional with in-depth, customer service experience across a variety of industries.  Successful track record of client retention, strong contract negotiation skills and increased sales through up-sell opportunities and new product development.  Specialized experience in analytical category analysis, internal data management and written/verbal client presentations.”  This describes the person behind the resume and paints a detailed picture of her experience in a short period of time. 

BRIEF JOB DESCRIPTIONS:  Under every company, job title and dates (and yes, in most cases, you should include months as well as the years), you should provide one or two sentences to describe what the company does (in case the name isn’t well known), and the basics of your job description.  That’s it.  Employers need to understand the industries you worked in, and the basic responsibilities of your past positions.  They do not need to see your duties spelled out–your accomplishments will answer those questions in their mind. 

So take a look at your resume.  Does it pass the test?


Here's to having a career you love!
Hallie Crawford
Certified Career Coach