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Characteristics of a Good Resume

by Ruth Mayhew, Demand Media

Good resumes impress recruiters and hiring managers.

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Good resumes don't get candidates jobs, but they do get candidates invitations to interview for jobs. A good resume
has just enough information about the applicant's qualifications to pique the recruiter's or hiring manager's curiosity,
yet not so much that the recruiter or hiring manager learns everything he needs to know without the benefit of an
interview. Good resumes have format, structure and content characteristics that lesser resumes lack.

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Present your resume in a clean, easy-to-read format with sections appropriately labeled. Most importantly, make
sure that your resume is perfect. It should be free of typographical errors and centered on the page so that it doesn't
look cluttered. Resumes that are visually appealing reflect the applicant's diligence in creating a document with the
reader in mind.

Profile Summary
Instead of including an objective at the beginning of your resume, write a brief profile summary that's geared toward
what the employer needs. An objective is a candidate-focused statement that won't capture the reader's attention,
says certified professional resume writer Cindy Billington. A profile summary, on the other hand, is a succinct
statement that tells the reader who you are and what you have to offer. For example, write, "Accomplished,
enthusiastic marketing expert with more than 15 years of experience in the non-profit sector, looking for marketing
leadership opportunities. Particularly interested in joining a charitable organization that serves a diverse community
and rewards leaders who bring creativity and innovation to marketing concepts."

Related Reading: Good Things to Have on Your Resume Before Becoming an ER Nurse
Use fragmented sentences when describing your work history. In fact, resumes that contain full, grammatically
correct sentences can be too wordy and narrative-like. In its "Guidelines for Writing a Professional Resume," the
University of Missouri advises job seekers to use fragments instead of complete sentences. It also recommends using
action verbs to begin each fragment. "Monitored weekly sales reports to determine impact of marketing campaigns"
is an example of an effective sentence fragment. Good resumes have short descriptions about the applicant's work
history that use a variety of action verbs.
Resumes shouldn't contain so much technical language that a lay reader gets lost. Anyone reading your resume
should be able to understand what you do for a living. Write plainly, yet not so plainly that your resume doesn't
pique the reader's interest. After all, even seasoned recruiters may not be experts in every line of work.

Follow a resume format that flows seamlessly from introduction to areas of expertise to work history to education
and professional affiliations. Determine the order in which you list education and work history, based on your career
level. Recent graduates or new entrants to the workforce should place education and academic qualifications above
work history. For seasoned workers with more than 15 or so years of experience, a good format is one that
showcases the applicant's professional competencies, instead of a lengthy work history that might bore readers.

Top 10 Features You Must Include in Your


Have you ever considered what a hiring manager or an HR representative is

really looking for when trawling through and screening hundreds of
resumes daily? It will be a combination of things but some of them recur for
every position they recruit for. It’s easy to miss the basics so here is a list of
the top 10 traits that will get you on the radar of the reader.

1) Communication skills:
Communication skills are hugely important for anyone dealing with people on a
daily basis. Speaking to IT guys can be drastically different to speaking with HR.
Your ability to communicate is the number one factor for you career progression so
you need to show initiative here. Example: “I joined Toastmasters 2 years ago and I
am currently working towards my advanced speaker certification”.

2) Openness:
This means openness to new ideas, new processes, new people and so on. As
corporations are ever changing entities, your ability to change with it is crucial. You
will have to demonstrate how you adapted in the past and how you can do it again.
Example: “I tested the new email system quickly learned how to use it, then helped
to roll it out across the business and taught it to others across the company”
3) Creativity:
This is your ability to engage in non-linear thinking or thinking outside the box to
use a nice cliché. An employer needs people that not only point out what is wrong in
a process for instance, but can also come up with a better way of doing things.
Example: “I spotted an opportunity and developed a new order process and reduced
lead times by 20% across my department”.

4) Cultural Experience:
Denotes what experiences you have had with people from other countries and
cultures. You will want to include any language you speak, any time you have spent
in a foreign country, any connections you have abroad etc. This can come in handy
when a company needs to deal with and even negotiate with international partners.
Example: “I lived in Germany for 2 years and speak fluent business German”.

5) Positivity:
Everyone wants a force of positivity on their team. It’s difficult to include this on a
resume but you can do your best by using upbeat language and dropping hints of
what a happy camper you are in the office. Example: “Working with this team was a
fantastic experience, I still keep in touch with all of the great members and I am glad
they have all got promoted and wish them all the best”.

6) Commitment:
This is your chance to show how you get involved in the corporate culture and really
try to live and breathe what your company is all about. Example: “I have carefully
studied the company’s vision statement and refer to it almost daily when I need
guidance on daily and longer term tasks”.

7) Enthusiasm:
This is all about what lengths you go to in order to further your career. Extra-
curricular activities can benefit your potential new employer. Example: “I joined the
local chapter of the Chamber of Commerce Networking Group in order to build up
my network of industry peers”.

8) Integrity: honest and moral principles

You would think it should hopefully go without saying that you have the integrity
required for customers and co-workers to trust and work successfully with you. In
order to reiterate this point you could write what others’ experiences of you have
been. Example: “When my manager needed someone trustworthy to look after the
new office, she picked me out of 8 internal candidates”.

9) Team spirit:
We can assume that you are a team player, everyone that works in an office is
required to be or they would get the axe sooner than a Frenchman can spell esprit de
corps. Team spirit is more than simply playing, it’s actually taking the initiative and
activating a group of people and creating closer bonds. Example: “I organized a
paintball day out for junior staffers and the top executives, in order to create a sense
of belonging for the newbies”.

10) Community service:

Everyone claims to have a big heart but only a few can actually quantify what their
charitable accomplishments are. This is about you making a difference and being
able to tell the world how you did it. Example “I organized a muffin bake off in my
team and we raised over $2,000 for the local homeless shelter”.

There we go, 10 features that you have to include somewhere on your resume. I
hope this gives you some ideas and that your resume is better off with these tips.
What is your experience of these 10 features on a resume? Do you think they help
and if so why or why not? Feel free to share your experience in the comments.