Your Resume (Your Life in One Page) – Part I

The dreaded resume! Where do I start? What is important? How do I organize all my experiences and write about them? Why should I spend so much time on this one sheet of paper? I hear these questions and concerns from my students all the time. If you know how the system works, you can put your best foot forward to stand out. Here is what you need to know.

Current Situation:

  • Recruiters review hundreds of resumes on a weekly basis
  • Recruiters only spend 15-30 seconds on each resume
  • Recruiters are constantly looking for talent

Solution:To capture their attention, your resume needs to have the following attributes:

  • Visual appeal
    • Clean and organized format
  • Grammatically correct
    • With spell check, there should be no exceptions
  • Display professionalism
    • Writing should be concise and formal
  • Highlight relevant experiences
    • Understand how your experiences relate to the current job posting
  • Make an immediate impact
    • Each bullet point should be well crafted
If you can accomplish the above, your resume should pique the recruiter’s interest to set up a phone interview. Now you may be asking, how do I go about doing this?
The Importance of a Resume:


First, you need to understand the importance of your resume. Your resume is a screenshot of all your experiences, education, accomplishments and hobbies. Before companies can spend hundreds to thousands of dollars on you, they need to make sure that it is worth their time to bring you onsite for an interview. Companies want a tool to measure you before they agree to meet you. Your resume is the key.


While writing your resume, keep in mind the following. Does each bullet point answer at least one of the following questions?
  • Do you have concrete numbers or a thorough analysis of each task?
  • Were you promoted or show reasons to be on deck for a promotion?
  • Did you create a new process or improve an existing one?
  • Were you a team player or did you display leadership skills?
  • Did you work well with existing clients or bring on new clients?
  • Did you show technical proficiency in a product line?
  • Were you innovative or detail oriented?

If each bullet point does not answer at least one of the above, you may consider to rewrite it or reword it. A handy way to add details is to review job postings for your previous jobs. For additional ideas, you can also check the LinkedIn profile descriptions for candidates in a similar job or industry.

The Test:
Now that you have constructed your resume, how do you know if it is good enough? Simple, just test it. Here are the instructions.

  • Send it to 3-5 family members or friends
  • Let them review it for 2 minutes
  • Were they able to grasp your accomplishments and skills?
  • Was it easy to read or were there any confusing parts?
  • Ask them for 1-2 suggestions
Note: Why 2 minutes(family) and not 30 seconds (recruiters)? I say 2 minutes versus 30 seconds because recruiters have a trained eye and review resumes daily.

>> Read Part II – Research, How to be Thorough