Top 10 Secrets No One Ever Told You About Getting the Most Out of Your Resume

1. Clearly define your career focus. “Candidates have to be focused,” said Laurie Purcell, Executive Recruiter. “The biggest complaint from employers over the years has been ‘We didn’t hire so-and-so because she or he didn’t know what they wanted.’”

2. Be specific when recounting your achievements. Qualify, quantify or “dollarize” them in some manner that demonstrates what you offer a prospective employer. Use the CAR method to help you recall your achievements: Challenge, Action, Result. Achievements are the most important part of the resume say recruiters and human resource professionals. “Past performance predicts future productivity,” said Lynn Williams, President, Prestige Placements.

3. Use action words and statements. “Responsible for”… is out, “Developed; Directed; Achieved; Coordinated, etc.” is in.

4. For people with 20 or more years of experience: “Do NOT write that into your resume,” said Carol Schneider, CEO of SEEK Careers / Staffing. “Put a BENEFIT STATEMENT into your resume – something that speaks of how you 1) made the company money, 2) saved the company money or 3) streamlined procedures. Years of experience is immaterial and may indicate that you are just ‘old.’ Companies want to know what kind of a contribution you can make to their success – not how many years you’ve been working.

5. Differentiate yourself. When you review your current resume, can you simply put someone else’s name on it? Or does it clearly differentiate you from your competition and brand you as “the one” for the job?

6. Communicate your value and put key points “above the fold.” One recruiter on LinkedIn told me he reads 200 to 300 resumes a DAY, seven days a week. You have GOT to stand out! Address the unspoken question early on: “Why should I hire you?”

7. When responding to any ads, either online or in the newspaper, be sure you clearly read the ad and assess your qualifications. Companies don’t have time to meet with unqualified applicants. According to one finance recruiter, “Candidates must be an exact match before a company looks at them.”

8. Create a Twitter-worthy value statement about yourself. That’s in 140 characters or less. This can become your brand statement used on social networking sites, when networking, and during interviews. Here’s mine: “I help professionals be rock stars at work.” This gets people to say, “Tell me more!” That’s your goal.

9. If you know someone at a company, give them a call. Networking is the No. 1 method used by candidates to get jobs. In CareerXRoads’ 2009 Source of Hire Study, employee referrals were the No. 1 source for external hires at companies.

10. Think creatively in how you distribute your resume. In a 2009 ExecuNet survey, more than 70% of job seekers land jobs through networking. Want more networking tips? Get “Rock Your Network® for Job Seekers.”

© 2003 – 2009 • Wendy J. Terwelp • Opportunity Knocks™ • All Rights Reserved.

Wendy Terwelp has helped thousands of clients get hired faster and be rock stars at work since 1989. A recognized expert on networking, both online and off, Wendy has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Fast Company, The Business Journal,,, and more as well as numerous radio shows. She has published hundreds of articles on the web and in print. She literally wrote the book on networking, “Rock Your Network® for Job Seekers.” Get tips, tricks, and strategies to rock your career at • Phone: 262.241.4655 • Email:

5 thoughts on “Top 10 Secrets No One Ever Told You About Getting the Most Out of Your Resume

  1. Very good blog! Do you have any hints for aspiring writers?
    I’m hoping to start my own site soon but I’m a little lost on everything.
    Would you propose starting with a free platform like WordPress or
    go for a paid option? There are so many options out there that I’m totally overwhelmed .. Any ideas? Thanks!

    • Congratulations on your decision to become a writer! There are many options to choose from depending on the type of writer you wish to become – do you want your own business? Do you wish to be a freelancer? Do you want to write for a publication? Be a reporter / journalist? Write ad copy for an agency? Check out the Occupational Outlook Handbook for job description, salary, and outlook for the various writer roles. This will help you determine your next move.

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