“8 Unwritten Resume Rules”

There are a number of unwritten rules you should follow when writing your resume, if you want to get hired faster for the job you deserve.

In fact, there are eight of unwritten rules. Here they are …

1) Give ‘em What They Want

You have – at most — 30 seconds to convince a reader that your resume warrants a complete read. But you may have even less time than that!

A recent poll I conducted among fellow recruiters revealed that most of them spend less than 15 seconds on the first page of your resume. The often never get past your email note or cover letter, let alone your carefully worded “Objective.” And, frankly, human resource managers are no more patient.

So, the first rule of resume writing is to write one that gets to the point – FAST. you must make sure readers can find what they want in your resume – FAST. This requires you to do a lot of careful planning about every word in your resume!

2) Be Relevant

Presumably, hiring authorities reading your resume have a job you’re interested in, so show how your experience fits their requirements. Never assume people can or will “read between the lines” and figure out your value. They don’t have time and they don’t care about you – yet.

3) Target Your Reader

You must understand who your “reader” is, because different people are looking for different things in your resume:

  1. Recruiters look for “hot” marketable skills because they want to make money placing you. If your skill set is not in high demand, they won’t call unless you are an exact fit for a job order they have.
  2. HR folks look for an exact skill fit with a job first, then your stability, then your personality type.
  3. Hiring managers look for skill sets first, then how flexible you are and finally your ability to learn on the job.

4) Use Bullets

Bulleted sentences, that is. We live in a PowerPoint world. So, write in a style that exudes action and energy – be punchy, concise and easy to read. This lets reader to get the gist of your main points quickly. You can elaborate later, at the interview!

5) Highlight your Strengths

Which of your strengths are most relevant to your reader? They should go first in your resume. Always put your top accomplishments where they will get read in the first 15 seconds.

6) Demonstrate Results

Use ###, %%%, and $$$ to emphasize your accomplishments. Remember that one million dollars is less likely to be noticed than $1,000,000. Numbers and symbols jump off the page.

7) Be Concise

Your resume should not contain one more word than needed to make your point. Because you’ll never bore anyone into hiring you. In fact, you might want to be a tease!

8) Connect The DOTS for them

Make it easy for readers to see how you fit their job requirements. Before writing your resume, research newspapers, job boards and Internet ads for positions that are similar to the ones you’ll be seeking.

Make sure to include the latest “buzzwords” in your resume. Example: common keywords and phrases like “JAVA or Audit Trail or channel management or DWDM” should map to the bullets in your resume.

Scientists and senior executives should prepare an appendix of publications and papers as well. Technical people need a separate Technical Summary page for easy identification of skills.

Article by David E. Perry, author of Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters and the Guerrilla Marketing for Job Hunters Blog. Kevin Donlin, also contributed.