If you are reading this, you are probably contemplating writing or rewriting your resume for a new position, a career change, or for some other related reason. There are some items that are highly important when thinking about your resume beyond the obvious (many of the obvious items have been discussed in other blog posts from me):

• Focus what it is you’re looking for. In the current economic cycle, specialists are in far more demand than generalists. You’ve probably heard the old saying “a Jack of all trades and a master of none”. That just won’t work anymore. Before writing or rewriting your resume, get clarity on what it is you’re after and then determine how best to position that on your resume by determining what is really important and what is really not. This is not to say that you can’t have more than one resume, each with its own focus; however, that would beg the question about whether you’re a master or a “Jack”.
• Keep it short and sweet: your resume is not your life history. Focus on achievement oriented information – information that points to results as the result of the work that you did or managed. Employers want to know what you can do for them and if it’s not clear, your resume goes nowhere. While it may be difficult at first, really sit down and think over what you have done and what a hiring manager is likely or unlikely to want to know. Do you think they’ll want to know that you set up the meeting room for a weekly staff meeting? Probably not. They may, however, be interested in knowing if you coordinated widely divergent schedules, food, transportation, and the like for the same weekly staff meetings, and that you did it successfully and with charm and grace.
• Are you applying for a position that doesn’t fit your background or education? In many cases, it’s better to leave off advanced education, certification, training, etc. if the position doesn’t (implicitly or explicitly) require it. In most cases, an undergraduate degree is not going to hurt you; but, a higher level degree or a specialized certification might. An employer may be scared off by too much training or experience (yet another reason to keep the resume short and sweet), especially if it’s not related to the position to which you’re applying. The employer may wonder if they are going to invest all kinds of time and money in teaching you their business just to have you leave later on because you were never really happy to begin with (and this may very well be the case with a so-called “transitional job” when the economy is bad; but, why let the cat out of the bag?).
• Resume books come and go and if you’re going it alone, stay up to date on current trends, styles, and formats on resumes. Figure out what hiring managers want currently – this may be very different than even just a year or two ago. An Internet search should yield excellent results and examples.
• This one is obvious, and so frequently overlooked that it bears repeating here: always, always, always have a fresh pair of eyes review your resume. Spell checker isn’t going to catch everything, no matter how up to date your software is, and grammar checker isn’t going to always go with the style that you’re trying to emulate. As an added bonus, the fresh pair of eyes can give you insights into how you’re coming across.
• What do you bring to the table that other candidates may not? It may not be obvious to you, because you’re familiar with what this trait(s) is. But someone reading your resume may not be unless you list it. Do you know a very unique software package that’s relevant? A second language that would be a great fit for the organizations clientele? Specific, but unusual experience in the field? List these things and really stand out.

These tips should help you develop a far more effective resume. Good luck.

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Author's Bio: 

Michael Trust, MPA, SPHR-CA, is a Certified Career Coach and a Certified Executive Career Coach, who helps people find their passion and fulfill their dreams as they relate to careers through his organization, Trustworthy Coaching, www.TrustworthyCoaching.com. Mr. Trust’s Coaching, Business, and Human Resources experience spans over twenty years, and he has had major roles in staffing in all of his Human Resource positions. In addition, he has coached individuals at all career levels relative to their career paths, job search strategies, business strategies, and related areas. Mr. Trust is also a member of the International Coach Federation (ICF).