Career Tips-Preparing your Resume

As a candidate, your resume is your business card.  You have a limited amount of space to communicate a lot of information, so the presentation of that information is critical.  The most effective exercise you can perform is to put yourself in the Hiring Manager’s shoes.  What would you want to know about a candidate?  What would make you want to read that résumé? 

There are 5 basic components:

1. Contact Information:

Include your full name, phone and email information and if not your full address, at least your zip code.  The contact information should be those you check DAILY; no one will spend time tracking you down.  

2. Summary:

A one paragraph statement that gives an employer a quick look at your qualifications and, when well written, is what will make them want to read further. It is a 3 part harmony, each part leading fluidly to the next and reading like a well written paragraph.

  • Part 1: This is a broad statement of who you are professionally, how long you have worked and the types of companies you have worked for.
  • Part 2: This is an overview of your skill-sets as they have developed on the job and/or any special skills worth mentioning. This is where you describe what your Skills include, or can demonstrate Proven abilities in, or can quantify Expertise/In-Depth knowledge of/Technical skills. This value proposition gives the employer a glimpse of what they will gain from their relationship with you.
  • Part 3: This is akin to a character statement and it should close your Summary in a way that demands more of the reader’s time. These traits should combine what’s important to you, your passion; and they must be important within your chosen field.

So, a finished product might read something like this:

A medical device engineering professional with more than 10 years in the manufacturing environment and a proven track record of success in market release. Skills include many cost/timeline critical tools such as Lean and Six-Sigma, implemented in both existing and new products. An experienced leader that embraces the challenge of achieving the company’s objectives in the end user’s timeline and with enthusiasm.

3. Achievements:

Now that you have their attention with your Summary, what do you want them to see next? Again, wear their shoes and think in terms of what you would want to see. That’s right. You want a quick glimpse at the candidate’s achievements to know what kind of a difference they will make to your business. Right?

Achievements should be a short list of bullets (3-5 depending on your years of experience) containing concise examples of contribution.  These statements provide the reader with a very quick but clear picture of what contribution you would make to their organization and how quickly they might expect you to start making that difference.

An example would be: 

Identified Six Sigma opportunity on existing manufacturing line leading to a 6 month project plan accomplished on-schedule and resulting in a throughput improvement of 18%, scrap reduction of 43% and a COGS reduction of 10% with a contribution improvement of $200,000 per year to the bottom line.

4. Work History:

This should be a summary of the jobs you’ve had, including title and dates of employment, in reverse chronological order.  Each position should contain a bulleted list highlighting your contribution, not a narrative paragraph.  This is not a job description; this is about your accomplishments, not simply your responsibilities.  Wherever appropriate, include quantifiable results from your efforts.

If you have held multiple positions with the same company, list them all to show advancement and growth.  More recent positions, should include more detail; positions early in your career, less detail.

5. Education, Training, etc:

In reverse chronological order, clearly list your education/degrees  including the School, degree and your grade point average against the school’s rating system (i.e. BS, Mechanical Engineering – Michigan State University – 3.94/4.0 GPA).  The more recent your graduation, the more flexibility you have to comment on your education. However, keep in mind what is important to the reader.

  • Include relevant Professional Certifications, Training, Licenses and Skills. 
  • We do not recommend including any personal information. 
  • Do not, under any circumstances, misrepresent your education or experience.  The internet has made references, education and background checks much easier and you will get caught. 
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