Hiring managers want to hire people who will do the job well and, unless they want/need to hire a relative, the procedure to find that special someone can involve a resume, interviews and references. If your resume doesn’t jump out from the competition, then forget the interview and reference stages.
What makes a resume stand out? Not gimmicks….no lay-out initiatives that have your sterling qualities in cute boxes down the side of the sheet, no 4-color displays. One exception to this is graphic artists. They are not using gimmicks, they are show-casing their expertise.
HR and line managers like to see readable resumes, with the facts accessible i.e. bullet points, not Faulkner-style prose. Those days are gone the way of the Edsel. They want relevant experience and they want to see what you did/do, and ideally how well you did/do it. They want to read that you improved the good stuff, minimized the bad stuff. If you can, give ‘em numbers. Numbers make the world go round.
Words that bring a smile to a tired old HR face…..
Increased: There must be a thousand things it’s good to increase e.g. revenue, clients.
Reduced: Another thousand things to reduce e.g. wastage, vendor costs, cost of supplies, response time, staff turnover rate.
Improved: Procedures (endless examples), relationships e.g. instituted monthly stitch’n’bitch admin meetings to air current issues, reducing number of complaints (you may have to phrase that one slightly differently).
Developed: e.g. systems that increase office efficiency, e.g. in-house system that lets boss know what meetings her staff are at, not just her own.
Created: e.g. Databases now used by the whole of the Accounting/Marketing/Mailroom…Departments.
Came in under budget: If you had a project that had a budget and you delivered under budget, scream it from the roof tops. If you tinkered with management’s ideas to ensure the project was delivered on time for the first time in years, let future employers know.
Accomplished: Sales people have perhaps an easier task than some other professions in quantifying their successes. They have numbers to achieve that they can exceed. They can bring in new business. But we all have to have accomplished something in our jobs that will look good on a resume.
If anyone has any other useful positive words that they’d like to share, please let us know!