The Winning Resume: 2012 Style

I don’t write resumes professionally. However, I know a great one when I see it, and I love talking about them. I believe that a resume should be a proposal to an employer, not spam.

I want to share with you some of the basic guidelines for job seekers I’ve learned based on my conversations with recruiters, hiring managers and professional resume writers.

According to TheLadder’s survey, recruiters look at your resume for a mere SIX seconds!

The Objective Is D E A D

This document is not about what your needs and wants are. It is about the intended audience. What does the company want? (They told you in their job posting.) Today’s resume may have the job posting title or occupation as a one-liner under your contact information. Or, it may be within the first few words of your summary of qualifications.

 Key Word Rich

Highlight, underline, whatever you need to do to the job description you are applying for. Identify the critical technical and job specific skills. Hard-worker, dedicated, detail-oriented are minimum job requirements or expected of every applicant. Tell a story instead!

Incorporate Stories to Make Your Point

Do not list job responsibilities under your jobs. People can or should be able to figure out what your daily activities may have been. Your job is to highlight the value you added to those places you worked.  Think in terms of accomplishments. Build STAR stories for each job requirement listed and then select the best of the best to include on your resume. Be sure they are measurable or quantifiable. Ask yourself the “so what” question after each bullet. Is it answered? Or you can try the PEPI test (no, not the PEPSI challenge!) How did what you did effect these areas:

Productivity, Efficiency, Profitability, Impact

Use a Conventional Format

People reviewing resumes want to see your work listed in reverse chronological order. Give it to them that way, unless you have a VERY good reason not to.  If you are drastically changing careers or your last job has absolutely nothing to do with what you want to do next, then consider using a hybrid (also called combo-functional) resume.

References…no Need to Mention Them

Everyone knows you will provide them when asked. Leave this line off your resume so you have extra space to talk about your accomplishments!

One Page?

Less is not more when it comes to talking about your relevant experience. If it takes two pages to present your qualifications, so be it. Recent college graduates may only have a single page. I hope you have had internships! Please! Real world experience is so valuable and desirable! If you have patents, publications or are in higher education, perhaps a third page may be necessary.

Interests, Schminterests

No one really cares that you enjoy knitting, wine tasting and training for marathons. That is, unless, you are applying for a job in one of those areas. Save the space for more meaningful, work-related information. Have you included professional memberships or volunteer activities?

Don’t Just Paste Your Resume on LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a social profile. It should be more insightful than your resume. It is a more complete look at what you’ve achieved and sheds light on what type of person you are at work, what your motivation is and can even include examples of your work and recommendations from peers or managers.

Are you looking for some good examples? Here are various resume writers I respect who share samples of their work!

Before and after examples by Miriam Salpeter of Keppie Careers

Samples by Karen Siwak of Resume Confidential

Samples by Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter of Career

Samples by ITTechExec

Samples from Lisa Rangel’s Chameleon Resumes

Samples by Louise Fletcher  of Blue Sky Resumes

Here is just one example for your to take a gander at!

Every time you ask someone for feedback on your resume, you will get different ideas, suggestions and OPINIONS! Often, this is about personal preference. Gear it towards your audience and use the right key words!




About the Author:  Hannah Morgan brings over 10 years of experience helping displaced workers search for their next opportunity, and has developed and delivered workshops as well as managed the implementation of Career Navigator, a five-day intensive boot camp for professional level job seekers.

In addition to her blog, Career Sherpa, Hannah is honored to be designated as Job Search Navigator on as well as a featured blogger on HerRochester. She also contributes to Career Collective, a community of expert career coaches and resume writing professionals who write monthly on job search topics, and guest blogs for on social media trends and tools. Follow Hannah on Twitter!




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