Tips for Creating a Winning Resume

A resume is the key to opening the door to your first conversation with a potential employer.  A well-written one opens that door, and a poorly created one can close it.

Google the word “resume” and you will find dozens of sites promising to provide you with templates, formats, or even to write your resume for you. This can work out well as long as you have given a lot of thought as to what you would like your resume to DO for you, i.e. for which type of jobs will you be utilizing this resume?

 I sometimes have new clients who seek me out and say,  “I just need help with my resume”. As a career coach, I look at resumes as where you finish your journey, not where you begin it.  According to Certified Professional Resume Writer Barri Waltcher, “in the best case scenario, a strong resume helps a prospective employer not only see that you are able to do their job, it helps them imagine that you could do it excellently. Therefore, it's important to go beyond describing the work that you have done in the past, so that your resume emphasizes the quality of your work and the value that you add”. Editing and updating your resume should happen after you’ve done the research on the types of jobs you want. The best resumes are strategic tools that tell your story. It allows the potential employer to learn where you have been, but it also should tell the story of where you want to go next.  Following are some tips for creating a strategically written resume:

·      Key words: Look at the job descriptions for the positions that interest you. What are some of the key words and phrases that are utilized? Insure that you use those key words and phrases in your job descriptions to talk about your achievements and responsibilities. These key words are typically used in the ATS (Applicant Tracking Systems) utilized by most large employers in order to source candidates for jobs.

·      Metrics: Use metrics whenever possible to highlight your accomplishments. For those of you in sales, this is fairly simple. For those in other fields, it may take some creativity. Always keep in mind that employers want to hire people who can help improve their bottom line. Think about aspects of your previous position where you improved processes, saved money, increased productivity or brought in new business. Quantify these metrics as best as you can, i.e. “increased new business to our department 20% vs. last year…”

·       Active language: There is nothing more boring than seeing a resume that starts every bullet point with the words “Responsible for”.  Get creative! Vary the beginning of each bullet point with strong active words such as “Produced”,  “Built”, and “Established”. This is will help to bring your resume to life and make it more personal to who you are what you have accomplished. Check out this list to get started.  

Finally, and this is probably the MOST important tip, proofread like crazy. You can be the most qualified candidate ever, but a typo can knock you right out of the running for the job you want. Proofread yourself (don’t rely on spellcheck) and read the resume out loud to insure that the grammar and syntax sounds correct. Before you hit send, have a friend or trusted colleague read it through for you with fresh eyes to insure you haven’t missed anything.

Good luck! Want to chat further about designing that perfect resume? Email me at


Pamela Weinberg