The New Top 5 Resume Writing Rules

In today's market, what used to work just doesn’t work anymore. The resume writing rules have dramatically changed. Several years ago, when unemployment was 5% and LinkedIn and other tools weren’t prevalent, you could get interviews with an older style resume. Today, you must follow these five rules:


1. Showcase Your Brand Or Theme

The Objective that says, “Here is what I want” is dead and replaced with a simple headline like SENIOR PROJECT MANAGER. This must be followed by a well-written description of what you do best (brand), which is designed to differentiate you from the many other candidates. Example: Corporate Troubleshooter regularly assigned to the most challenging initiatives. This creates a theme for the rest of the resume so your opening essentially says, “Here is what I am best at,” and the rest of the resume says, “Here is proof that I am good,” by showcasing the results you have achieved.

2. Tight Writing

Today’s resumes must be tightly written and very succinct. Fluff statements are out and overused phrases like visionary and dynamic are no longer the norm. Your sentences should be to the point and factual. Example: Sales Executive charged to drive new business and penetrate existing accounts throughout the New York metropolitan area. Your resume really doesn’t need to go into all the job duties you performed. So, using the sales resume example above, you would not put in such things as called on prospects throughout the territory, attended trade shows, and made presentations. These are the normal tasks that sales professionals do on a regular basis and, certainly, the employer understands that.

3. Use The Harvard Format

You should also use what’s called the Harvard format. In this format, your roles and responsibilities are in paragraph form and your achievements are in bulleted form. This makes it easy for an employer to quickly identify them. Also note that, in this day and age, the notion of a one-page resume is a myth and what is most important is that the resume has a compelling story and is easy to read. Remember that your resume is an advertisement for your skills. It is not necessarily a legal document designed to indicate everything you’ve ever done. Your purpose in the resume is simply to whet their appetite and get them to want to call you for an interview.

4. Support Your Theme With Strong Accomplishment Statements

You’ve established a theme and now you have to prove it by showcasing your accomplishments. Make sure your accomplishments are directly relevant to the position you’re seeking and supports your theme or brand. So, highlighting the fact that you created a database that streamlined the process of ordering office supplies is not something that should go on your resume if you are looking for a sales role. As much as possible try to quantify your accomplishments and indicate your performance against goals. In our sales example, stating you increased revenues $2 million year-over-year is very nice, but it really doesn’t describe your accomplishments. Saying you delivered 135% of quota representing a $2 million increase in year-over-year revenues is a much stronger statement.

5. Include LinkedIn

Recent studies indicate that more than 85% of employers and virtually all recruiters will look for you on LinkedIn before calling you. So, make sure you have your LinkedIn ID on your resume and your profile is supportive of your overall theme. Note: if your LinkedIn ID has /pub/ in it with a host of numbers at the end, then you have a temporary ID and you should secure a more appropriate ID by editing your LinkedIn profile and skipping down to the PUBLIC PROFILE edit button in LinkedIn. This is very easy to do and you should try to secure your name. Follow these resume writing rules and you will see a marked difference in the way you resume produces results.

Related Posts:

When To Turn Down A Job Offer Risks And Rewards Of Taking A Job You Don’t Want Why No One Is Calling You After You’ve Applied To Over 100 Jobs Online Photo Credit: Shutterstock

If you saw our first video, you might have heard about the awkward situation one of our viewers, Diane submitted. She has recently worked with a co-worker on a group project. When it came time to present the project at a meeting, Diane let her co-worker present. While it went great, the co-worker proceed to take credit for nearly all of Diane's work. Frustrating to say the least!

SHOW MORE Show less

In this week's episode of "Well This Happened", we want to know what you would do if your co-worker took credit for the work you did...right in front of your colleagues AND boss!

We want YOU to be the career coach and tell us which one is the RIGHT answer!

Think you know? Vote below, and stay tuned for later this week when we announce the right answer (and why the other ones are wrong).

SHOW MORE Show less

If you saw our first video, you might have heard about the awkward situation one of our viewers, Cam submitted. He's been working at a job for awhile, but recently overheard a hiring manager making fun of a candidate with autism right after an interview-not only awkward, but VERY unprofessional!

SHOW MORE Show less

In this week's episode of "Well This Happened", we want to know what you would do if witnessed a hiring manager at your organization making fun of a candidate who they had just interviewed who had autism.

We want YOU to be the career coach and tell us which one is the RIGHT answer!

Think you know? Vote below, and stay tuned for later this week when we announce the right answer (and why the other ones are wrong).

SHOW MORE Show less

Starting a family is one of the biggest milestones in a person's life. It's in those first few months when a parent can really bond with their newborn and make lifelong memories. However, for some new dads, it can be difficult to juggle being a new parent while remaining dedicated to their career.

Fortunately, some companies have generous paternity leave policies that give new dads the ability to take time off of work to stay home with their child.

SHOW MORE Show less

There are LOTS of questions around resume dos and don'ts. There's so much advice out there that it can be overwhelming to try and figure out what's the correct answer.

During our weekly live Office Hours on YouTube, two of our coaches, Ariella Coombs and J.T. O'Donnell, answer questions live from viewers related to their job search, career success, on the job situations and more.

We complied a simple list of what we find to be the most common questions our coaches get about resumes. We hope you find this helpful.

Let's start with the basics...

SHOW MORE Show less

Back in March, we made the hard decision to change our private Facebook group of over 37 THOUSAND members to a fee-based only platform.

SHOW MORE Show less

In this week's episode of "Well This Happened", we want to know what you would do if a recruiter called you a day EARLY for your phone interview (and you were NOT PREPARED!)

We want YOU to be the career coach and tell us which one is the RIGHT answer!

Think you know? Vote below, and stay tuned for later this week when we announce the right answer (and why the other ones are wrong).

SHOW MORE Show less