Effective Resume Writing

A good resume is more than a list of jobs and duties performed. Generally speaking, a good resume shows employers, as well as recruiters, that you can go beyond what's required of you to make a difference in the organization.

So, how do you create a resume that gets noticed? Let's start with the basics.
1. Contact Information
Unless your situation dictates it (and it most likely never will), you should never volunteer personal information such as age, ethnicity, religion, marital status and physical attributes on your resume. Put your current phone and/or fax number(s), your postal address, and your email address at the top of your resume, and leave it at that. For example:

2100 W. James Avenue, Suite B-3
Cleveland, Ohio 44000
Phone: (216) 555-0000
Fax: (216) 555-0001
Cellular: (216) 555-0002

2. Objective
Your objective statement should show employers that you know what you want and you know how to get it. This doesn't mean your objective should read something like, "I want a high-paying job in pharmaceutical sales, and I'm willing to do anything to get it!" (Even though that may be how you're feeling.) Rather, your objective should be targeted, professional, and free of personal pronouns (e.g., "I," "me") and other flowery details. You may even want to consider using a tagline instead of a complete sentence, as in the following example:

"Objective: Pharmaceutical sales position capitalizing on 15 years' experience in retail management and hospital administration."

Of course, your objective can be longer or shorter than this example. Ultimately it depends on your situation, your level of experience, and your desired position.

3. Summary of Skills
Use the summary statement to emphasize the most important qualities, achievements and abilities you have to offer an employer. Include professional characteristics that could help you later during the interview; for example, "team-oriented," "skilled at problem-solving," "committed to excellence." Then, during the interview, be prepared with anecdotes so you can elaborate on each of these statements. Here's an example:

"Sales professional with proven background in retail management and hospital administration. Design, coordinate and enhance sales and marketing activities and relationships to identify business customers. Effective communicator, able to develop comprehensive networks for continuing organization visibility and sales revenues. Desire career growth based on performance and accomplishments."

4. Professional Experience
Go back 10-15 years, and list every position you've held in reverse chronological order. Even though age discrimination is illegal, many candidates with substantial experience worry about falling victim to it. So, if you've been in the field for more than 15 years, you can add a section titled "Prior Relevant Experience" and just refer to your additional important jobs without mentioning specific dates.

If you've held multiple positions within the same company, list every position—you'll want to show that you've progressed. Finally, concentrate on the description of each position—the meat and potatoes of this section—to show that you've gotten results and solved problems within the organization. For example:

"2/93 - Present: Western Health Systems, Cleveland, Ohio. Hospital Marketing Representative Represent major expanding medical diagnostic reference laboratories testing program to hospitals and health systems in the sales of services and information systems. Create marketing and strategic selling plans. Establish network within hospital marketplace for upstart division. Comprehensive knowledge of managed care and physician group, and clinical trials market."

5. Education
The education area of your resume should include the institution's name and location, along with your degree and the year you obtained it. Beyond that, you can include educational honors, seminars and certifications, and list achievements such as projects, awards, and grade-point averages. (A GPA of 3.0 or above is worth mentioning.)

6. Finishing Up
After you've finished the professional experience and education areas of your resume, you can add additional sections for additional pertinent information, such as professional honors, awards and affiliations.

While you might need to provide your recruiter with professional references, it's not necessary to include these on your resume—after all, if you're in the middle of a career search, it's pretty clear that you've developed some professional relationships along the way. However, if you do add a references section, make sure it says more than "References available upon request." Also, check with your references beforehand to make sure you can include them on your resume. You don't want anyone to be surprised when the recruiter calls.

You may also wish to include professional skills, such as languages spoken and proficiencies with computer software or hardware, in this section. Other possibilities include professional training, appointments and licenses. However, you should never include hobbies (e.g., "I like to read") or list personal interests (e.g., "music, books, art") anywhere on your resume.

7. Tips from MRI's Recruiters
MRI's recruiters have highlighted 12 of the career accomplishments that most interest employers. It's possible that you've accomplished some of these in your current job—think of how you might include them on your resume. Approach each one from the viewpoint of a recruiter: How can this past accomplishment benefit a potential employer? 

1. Increased revenues
2. Saved money
3. Increased efficiency
4. Cut overhead
5. Increased sales
6.Improved workplace safety
7. Purchasing accomplishments
8. New products/new lines
9. Improved record-keeping process
10. Increased productivity
11. Successful advertising campaign
12. Effective budgeting 
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