A human resources manager, working at a Fortune 500 company, asked for my help in writing her resume. She told me: "Thousands of resumes have passed through my hands but when it comes to writing my own I have a difficult time doing it." She isn't alone in her concerns. Most people find resume writing challenging. A resume is nothing more than a slick piece of advertising. But an important piece, especially in today's job market.
Employers report that most resumes get only a 15-20 second glance. If you don't capture the reviewers' attention quickly they pass you by and call in someone else for the interview.
There is one effective technique that you can use that dramatically improves your resume. In our national survey of 600 hiring managers, almost every respondent said the most important part of your resume is the SUMMARY OF QUALIFICATIONS section. Employers reported that this was one of the very first areas they read and when the summary demonstrates solid ability to perform the job it catches their attention and they slow down and give the applicant more careful consideration.
Hiring managers also reported only about 5% of resumes they received contained this key section, and I never write a resume without it. It's just too powerful to leave out. This section usually consists of four to six sentences that present an overview of your experience, accomplishments, talents, work habits and skills. Think of it as mini-outline of you; a highly influential summation of the specifics you bring to the job.
Here is a good example from one of the resumes I wrote for a client:
SUMMARY OF QUALIFICATIONS
Proven track record serving as corporate counsel with eight years experience dealing with intellectual property and partnerships in a global environment. Responsible for a broad range of legal matters including: copyright and trademark protection, contract negotiations, compliance, and litigation. Led legal team in completing sophisticated joint venture negotiations that delivered millions to the company's bottomline.
This brief summary tells you that this candidate is a qualified to corporate attorney. Indeed, her new resume that we created together got several interviews, and then a great job with a Fortune 100 company that included a $20K salary raise AND a signing bonus.
Use a SUMMARY OF QUALIFICATIONS in your resume. It speaks volumes, consolidating the best qualities you will bring to the job. It makes your resume stand out and pulls the employer in for a closer look. Be sure that your resume has this essential section. It comes right after your name, address and career objective. One caution -- employers complain that many people lie on their resume. Don't do it! Employers do more background checks now than ever before -- it is career suicide to lie. Only solid facts and verifiable experience should highlight your experience and accomplishments. When it is well-written and formatted corrected -- employers will call!