Does your resume need rehab?

If your resume was last updated when typewriters were still in style…
your resume might need rehab

If it takes longer to read your resume than to pop a bag of popcorn…
your resume might need rehab

If your resume looks like a compilation of job descriptions…
your resume might need rehab

If your resume lists every job you have ever had…
your resume might need rehab

If the email address on your resume is…
your resume might need rehab


Perhaps you have never had, or needed, a resume. Maybe you have been in the same job for quite some time and haven’t updated your resume since starting that job. You might be actively engaged in a job search but aren’t getting as many responses as you would like or are expecting to start a job search and want to make sure your resume is ready to go. Whatever situation you find yourself in, here are 5 quick tips for building a better resume:

1. Make a good first impression
If your first introduction to a potential employer is your resume you want to send the right message and make a good first impression. Remember that your resume will get you an interview and that your interview will get you a job – you want your resume to get you an interview! Be sure to include your own personal contact information and not your work email address or phone number (if you are currently employed). An appropriate personal email address and a phone number with a professional sounding voice mail message will certainly help with making a good first impression. Keep your resume to a maximum of 2 pages and ensure that it is formatted consistently throughout, makes good use of white space, and is free of spelling errors.

2. Keep it current and relevant
With a maximum of 2 pages you won’t have room on your resume to list every job you have ever had or describe in detail what you did in each job. The person screening your resume will likely look at your resume for 20 – 30 seconds in order to decide if they want to read it in more detail. If you want to get past the screening stage it is important to provide a summary of your skills, qualifications, and experience specific to the position you are applying for and only the most relevant employment experience and skill sets for that position.

3. Focus on your accomplishments
A list of duties and responsibilities does not tell a potential employer what you bring to the position or the organization or what your special talents and achievements have been. Stand out from other job applicants by replacing duties and responsibilities with accomplishment statements that clearly demonstrate to a potential employer how you have increased productivity, saved money, creatively solved a difficult problem, built a winning team, etc. Start your statements with strong action words such as streamlined, initiated, facilitated, engaged, developed, etc to focus on the skills that are most important to the employer.

4. Use keywords
Potential employers are going to be short listing applications based on how closely they match what the employer is looking for in terms of skills, qualifications, and experience. You can improve your chances of being short listed if you include the keywords that are listed in the job ad in your resume / cover letter, but only if they are true for you. A list of keywords isn’t enough though – remember to provide accomplishment statements for those keywords to demonstrate how you have been an exceptional team player, or a master organizer and planner, or a creative problem solver.

5. Pick the best format
There are 3 general resume formats: reverse chronological, functional, and combination. The resume format you choose should be consistent with your career objective or job goal – choosing the best format will help you to remain focused on the most current and relevant information to include. If you have had progressive experience in one particular occupation or similar jobs in the same field, a reverse chronological resume is a good format if you are looking for work in the same field or are planning on building upon your previous experience. If you have a diversity of skills and experience, which most people do, and are looking to transition your skills into a new occupation or different industry a functional resume will highlight your transferrable skills and focus less on your work experience. A functional resume is also helpful for those individuals who have limited paid work experience or sporadic and short term work experience. As its name suggests a combination resume is just that, a combination of the functional and reverse chronological formats. It highlights your transferrable skills or functional areas of experience/ competence while also providing a summary or your work experience.

Your resume should not only capture the attention of a potential employer but be representative of you, your personality, and your unique experiences and skills sets.

For a FREE 30 minute resume review / consultation please feel free to contact Paula directly at or 780.589.2245.