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:

Job Search: Make it Simple

I saw this article in today’s JSOnline and something clicked:

Boys’ invention is worth its salt

November 11, 2008 12:35 a.m. | Why didn’t we think of it? That’s how Ariens Co. engineers reacted when they first saw the snow-thrower accessory invented by sixth-grade students Matt Moran and Sam Hipple. »Read Full Article


Now that you’ve read the story, think about your own job search. Have you made things too complicated? Here are 5 tips to simplify your search:

1. The Networking Monster: Have you created a networking monster? “Hey, know anyone who’s hiring?” – that’s the monster I’m talking about. Check out our newsroom for tips to tame the monster and make your networking efforts simple, easy, and FUN.

2. The Long Boring Resume: Is your resume filled with complex language, industry jargon, and other non-essentials that make it 5 pages long? Pass it around to your friends. If they ask you to explain things or look confused, it’s too long, too complex, and too boring. Trim the fat. Focus on results. Accomplishments demonstrate your value and the employer’s potential ROI on their investment in hiring you.

3. The Drama Queen — or King: Are you whining about your situation to everyone? Remember attitude is everything. It’s OK to express your opinion and grieve for your job loss, but then turn it around. “I always hire attitude over experience,” said one human resources director. “Skills can always be learned.”

4. The Over-Engineered Process: Are you making the job search process so complex that you’re afraid to start? Are you making excuses? (You can’t start until you’ve completely updated your contact database… You can’t start until you have the perfect interview suit… You can’t start because…) Take action and do one thing for your search now! A baby step is better than no step.

5. The View from the Pigeonhole: Target your career focus and your search, but don’t limit yourself to the methods you use in the process. Networking is the No. 1 way people land new gigs. BUT there are many ways to tap your network – both online and off. Contact companies cold. Talk to recruiters. Post your resume online – and follow up. Snail mail your resume to decision-makers – and follow up. Paste your resume into company website application forms – and follow up.

Now is the time to simplify. Take action. One small step in your job search is one giant step toward YOUR new dream gig!

Let us know your favorite – and simple – job search step. Share your stories with us – and inspire others!

Copyright 2008 * Wendy Terwelp


Resumes: When Hobbies Count

Hobbies on resumes? You have got to be kidding! I thought that went out in the ’70’s.

They did, when people put their hobbies like this:

Hobbies: Reading, Writing, Bicycling.

Who cares? No one, and that’s why they went out. But here’s a way to make them “in” again. If you list hobbies, make sure they are relevant to your targeted career (your audience) or differentiate you in the right way or are truly a part of your personal brand.

For example, I worked with an IT consultant who wanted to relocate. He was a young person with three years’ experience in IT. In his previous life though, and while working his way through college, our IT consultant had a side job – as a rock climbing instructor. How cool! Here’s a person who takes risks, who is athletic, and has a life outside a dimly lit screen. We added this job to his resume. Result? He sent out two resumes and got two offers. He called me while on the road – in his new company-paid car – and said, “Wendy, all they talked about was my rock climbing! Can you believe it?”

Here’s another. I worked with a nurse (RN) who had experience and wanted out of staff nursing. She wanted to transition into pharmaceutical sales, but she technically had no sales experience. In addition to her many transferable skills (like terminology, physician connections, etc.), we added her “hobby.” She was a competitive marathon runner. And she had placed in the top three for a variety of marathons more than once. She also competed worldwide – and had run a marathon in Prague. Again, GUTS. This hobby demonstrated that she was very competitive, had drive, endurance, and played to win. Good traits in sales.

And my own experience (albeit a while back), I was a newspaper reporter. I covered the HOG (Harley Owner’s Group) rally in Milwaukee. Yep, dressed like a biker and interviewed Harley owners from around the globe. Awesome! My story got nominated for a national award. I put this on my resume when job hunting. Got called by a recruiting firm. They had heard about me before, and now it was time to interview. Guess what? The guy interviewing me owned the Harley parked outside. We talked about the article and Harleys for about an hour. I then met the operations manager and the president and got the offer. Here I had my portfolio with my performance evals and records, and they wanted to talk about Harleys. Later, I asked about that. They said, “Wendy, we already knew all about you. We know that when so-and-so took over the old office, people were still asking about you for two years. We knew about the performance records. That’s why we kept calling. But, we needed to see if you’d be a fit for our team. Well, after you talked with so-and-so about Harleys, we knew you would fit right in.” Old “so and so” was my boss for a while. When he left, I got to be boss – for that department. 🙂

These stories are not just about hobbies, but rather a culture fit within the organization. In the employment biz, we call it “right fit.” Think about this, the average person spends 2080 to 2600 hours per year at work! Wouldn’t it be nice to enjoy being there?

Challenge: What are your hobbies? Are they relevant to your career goal? Would they be a differentiator for you? Do they demonstrate your brand? Your attributes that are hot selling points for the role? If so, take a risk. Add it to your resume.