A Powerful Resume for Powerful Results

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC – GetInterviews.com

Analyst / Associate, New York, NY
Marketing Coordinator, Boston, MA
Private Equity Analyst, Marina Del Rey, CA
Consultant, New York, NY
Acquisitions Associate, Chicago, IL

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Everyone knows a resume is not the go-to source for entertaining reading material, but if you put in the effort to make your resume more interesting, you may also land a job faster in the process! The key to making your resume a proverbial page-turner is by using powerful language. Gaining the hiring manager’s interest prior to the interview can be done with a few simple tweaks to your resume.

Start with Your Strengths

Although many job seekers still want to start the resume with an objective, this is a sure-fire way to stop the hiring manager from reading your resume. The objective emphasizes your goals, not what you can do for the company. By starting with your strengths, you immediately get the reader’s attention because he or she is able to see you performing specific tasks for the company. Incorporate your track record in the initial summary for maximum power and efficiency in your resume.

Consider using phrases such as “key contributor with broad experience creating procedural systems from the ground up” or “significant strengths to rapidly identify and resolve challenges, while delivering high-level customer service”. Phrases like these convey strengths you bring to the position and allow the hiring manager to see exactly how you can contribute to the company.

Emphasize Accomplishments

As you revise your resume, compare your skills with the requirements in the job description for the new position. Those position requirements are going to help you emphasize parts of your job history that most closely mirror the skills needed for the job. Highlight skills needed for the job, but do so honestly.  Don’t risk losing your opportunity for an interview by over-representing yourself.

An effective strategy for presenting your skills is through the use of lists with action words. Quantify your accomplishments and use powerful language to communicate your strengths clearly and succinctly to the hiring manager. Look at the example below – it clearly presents a candidate who makes things happen!

  • Increased sales $5K monthly while maintaining high levels of quality and safety.
  • Captured $10K in savings by creating a comprehensive tracking spreadsheet.
  • Expanded business 10% skillfully developing relationships with diverse clients.

Use Core Competencies

Including core competencies is one of the most effective tools you can use. Not only can core competencies be critical in pulling your resume out of the pile by increasing the odds of being recognized by electronic searches, but it also provides hiring managers a quick understanding of your skills. Review the strengths easily identified in the list of core competencies below.

  • Business Intelligence
  • Internal/External Relationship Management
  • Inventory Control
  • Database & Tracking Systems
  • Budget Administration
  • Technology Applications

Avoid Repetitive Language

It’s easy to get in a rut by using the same words repeatedly throughout the resume.  A couple of key culprits include “managed” and “supervised”.  Even if you have to pull out the old thesaurus to help you come up with more interesting language – do it! Most word processing programs also have thesaurus functions that help you keep the reader interested by using different words. In our example, you might substitute “directed” for “managed”, or “monitored” instead of “supervised”.

Your goal is to keep the hiring manager interested in your resume – that means you need for the reader to make it through the entire document and still want to know more about you.  The only way for the hiring manager to quench that thirst for more knowledge about you is to call for an interview. Use interesting language even if you don’t see yourself as a writer.

As you read through your resume, gauge how interesting it is and how your skills are projected. Powerful language can move you to the top of the list of qualified candidates. Choose your words carefully to set yourself apart from the competition and achieve results! Now go out there and toot your own horn!

About the Author: Alesia Benedict, Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Job and Career Transition Coach (JCTC) is the President of GetInterviews.com, the country’s leading resume writing firm. They provide professionals with customized, branded resumes and career marketing documents. Her and her firm’s credentials include being cited by JIST Publications as one of the “best resume writers in North America,” quoted as a career expert in The Wall Street Journal, and published in a whopping 25+ career books. Established in 1994, the firm has aided more than 100,000 job seekers to date. All resume writers are certified writers. GetInterviews.com offers a free resume critique and their services come with a wonderful guarantee — interviews in 30 days or they’ll rewrite for free!

Improve Your Image to Increase Your Income

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC – GetInterviews.com

Equity Analyst, New York, NY
Resource Manager, Nationwide, US
Investment Analyst, Boston, MA
Sr. Consultant, San Francisco, CA
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Being unemployed, under-employed, or under-paid may happen at any time. Several strategies can be effective in increasing your income, regardless of how fully employed you may be.  Savvy approaches to get your skills noticed aren’t just for the unemployed.  If you are dissatisfied with your employment situation, try these methods to improve your bottom line!

1.  Make your accomplishments visible.

Use the corporate structure in place at your organization to ensure that your contributions are recognized by the right people.  For example, almost everyone serves on committees of one kind or another and the purpose of a committee is to accomplish certain goals deemed important by the company.  Volunteer to take on additional responsibilities as part of a subcommittee and clarify everyone’s tasks for inclusion in the minutes. The documentation you have just created is typically circulated throughout the organization, so you don’t have to highlight your own contributions. The corporate structure has taken care of announcing your accomplishments for you. Follow up after the task is completed to close the documentation loop with your contribution clearly recorded. This type of strategy works equally well with non-profit Boards and community groups.

2. Make yourself valuable.

Contributions outlined above will also make you valuable to the organization. Most companies offer many opportunities to extend your value, such as special projects, community involvement, or employee morale-boosting events. Being valuable doesn’t mean compromising yourself.  Select an activity that is consistent with your own values or interests and your value will be multiplied by your enthusiasm for the project.

Be certain you are central to the corporate mission.  It is easy to lose sight of your value if you have been under-valued in this serious economic downturn. Don’t allow a negative job climate to erode your confidence.

3.  Make yourself viable (as a candidate).

Qualify for special projects and new positions within an organization as well as for an entirely new position by presenting yourself as a viable candidate. Basic credentials form the foundation of a solid applicant, however key aspects include skills and characteristics that set you apart from the competition. Enthusiasm is one example, but also consider areas of additional training. Broadcast the unique work history that qualifies you for the position, project, or negotiation.

4.  Be a Team Player.

A “can-do” attitude and quiet acceptance of responsibility will be noticed.  What is your work ethic?  In other words, if your work is caught up, do you kick back or look for areas to jump in?  The latter is highly valued in most organizations. Say, there’s a major direct-mail campaign that everyone is discussing, but it’s in another department. Walk over and offer to help out.  Even if you feel the task is menial, the work has to be done – that is the sign of a hands-on manager, a role that is typically valued.

5.  Learn a New Skill or Language

It is the time of year for Adult Education catalogs to start arriving in the mailbox. The programs offered are often not as trivial as one might think.  Adult Education has progressed far beyond ballroom dancing and ethnic cuisine. Think critically for a moment about the competition – peers at your current job or other candidates.  How many actually have second language skills or specialized technology training? These are two common offerings in most community education programs, so begin using a few evenings to develop skills that set you apart from others.

6.  Tune in to Market Perception of the Company.

Hear some less-than-positive reports from customers or the competition?  Let the boss know.  Granted he or she may already be clued in, but this behavior speaks volumes about your loyalty and business acumen. If the boss already knows of the bad news, you have still distinguished yourself by identifying trends and putting the well-being of the division and company first.

Build on this basic list to polish your image. Everyone has had experiences with poorly performing staff members, as peers or subordinates. At the other end of the spectrum, there are also examples of outstanding employees.  Typical characteristics include ingenuity, good work ethic, and pleasant demeanor.  Consider what is valued in your own industry, and project the image of the type of person you would like working for you! Highlighting unique qualities can increase your value, visibility, and personal bottom line.

About the Author: Alesia Benedict, Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Job and Career Transition Coach (JCTC) is the President of GetInterviews.com, the country’s leading resume writing firm. They provide professionals with customized, branded resumes and career marketing documents. Her and her firm’s credentials include being cited by JIST Publications as one of the “best resume writers in North America,” quoted as a career expert in The Wall Street Journal, and published in a whopping 25+ career books. Established in 1994, the firm has aided more than 100,000 job seekers to date. All resume writers are certified writers. GetInterviews.com offers a free resume critique and their services come with a wonderful guarantee — interviews in 30 days or they’ll rewrite for free!

Language Secrets for a Successful Job Search

By Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC – GetInterviews.com

Technology Research Analyst, SF Bay Area, CA
Consultant, New York, NY
Junior Trader, Chicago, IL
Junior Consultant, Boston, MA
M&A Analyst, Los Angeles, CA

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On the job circuit, it is important to be yourself and clearly express your experience and ability in a way that will resonate with recruiters.  Sincerity is a critical component of being authentic, however you may need to massage your language to make sure the hiring manager is listening.  Of course you don’t want to deceive a potential employer with a trumped-up version of yourself.  That is very similar to padding your resume – a definite no-no in the world of successful job seekers. What you must do to ensure a receptive audience is to say all the right things – in the right way.

1.  Use the Language of Results.

Most CEOs are interested in how your behavior and enthusiasm can help the company move toward specific goals and objectives. An effective strategy includes researching the company for new initiatives, pet projects, or even community involvement and aligning your key work experiences with the activities receiving corporate attention.  Critical information will provide the frame for presenting your skills to the employer. Highlight strengths and experiences that parallel the business intelligence gathered in your research efforts.

Tailor your presentation to garner extra attention from a hiring manager.  Interest may be generated from shared efforts on a community project, HR committee work on social events (translates to improved morale in the language of the CEO), or attending city council meetings on zoning issues (the Division Manager will see you as a trusted representative of the company, as well as a Subject Matter Expert on community relations and regulations).

2.  Verbalize How You Get Things Done.

Gather several sample job descriptions for plum positions and study them for skill areas emphasized.  Sure, every position will share some basic skills that form the core of that profession, but each company has unique expectations within a specific corporate culture.  Compare the job descriptions with your personal work history, not just in terms of basic qualifications, but also in terms of added-value you bring to the table from your personality, extensive contacts, or significant accomplishments. Help the hiring manager understand how you will enhance the team’s functioning, levels of productivity, or bottom line when you deliver your significant skill set.

3.  Listen for Clues.

Many companies share an idiosyncratic language that reflects the corporate mission. Listen to how individuals talk and write.  By identifying trends, such as “do you see what I’m talking about” or “I hear what you’re saying”, you have tapped into clues about how individuals understand the world around them.  Neuro-linguistic Programming (NLP) suggests mirroring the language of those around you helps to create a bond of shared vision and direction. You will make a solid connection.

4.  Utilize Action Words.

Using powerful language conveys your individual influence and authority. It is not necessary to be in a position of authority to communicate that type of strength to others. When job-seeking, you may feel as though you are an underdog in interactions, but this is the time to step up your game and project your confidence and competence. Action words are a great way to do so. Your list of accomplishments may include “projects executed”, “costs contained”, or “profits accelerated”.

5.  Express Professional Passion.

Passion ignites interest. Define your professional passion by listing all the career-related activities that excite you. Don’t be afraid to express those professional passions by talking about what energizes you. Enthusiasm is contagious and most employers are drawn to candidates who are energized about the profession, their company, or the mere possibility of making a well-defined contribution. Whether you are a dreamer or a doer, you have specific skills to offer – get excited and don’t be shy about sharing.

6.  Incorporate Nonverbal Messages.

Remember the power of body language in addition to all other types of communication. Pay attention to your nonverbal messages as well as those of the hiring manager. In any face-to-face interactions, use the basics of good eye contact, a firm handshake, and an open stance.  If the body language of the other person doesn’t seem as open, try engaging him/her in conversation that is appropriately upbeat. If you are in the office, pay attention to objects on the desk for clues to possible conversation starters – a favorite sports team or plaque of recognition. Over the phone or email, introduce your interest in a special corporate project.

Put these secrets to work and you will be communicating with prospective employers at many different levels. Being able to effectively match the hiring manager’s communication style in multiple ways maximizes a sense of connection and shared vision. Speaking the same language helps the prospective employer see you as part of the team, getting you a few steps closer to landing that plum position!

About the Author: Alesia Benedict, Certified Professional Resume Writer (CPRW) and Job and Career Transition Coach (JCTC) is the President of GetInterviews.com, the country’s leading resume writing firm. They provide professionals with customized, branded resumes and career marketing documents. Her and her firm’s credentials include being cited by JIST Publications as one of the “best resume writers in North America,” quoted as a career expert in The Wall Street Journal, and published in a whopping 25+ career books. Established in 1994, the firm has aided more than 100,000 job seekers to date. All resume writers are certified writers. GetInterviews.com offers a free resume critique and their services come with a wonderful guarantee — interviews in 30 days or they’ll rewrite for free!