Article On Creating A Resume

Below is a fantastic article on creating a resume. You'll learn how to write your qualification summary and skill set.

Six Steps to a Blockbuster Resume

STEP THREE:  Qualification Summary & Skill Set

Picture yourself at the market after a long day at the office. You’re in a rush, of course, and want only to purchase those items on your list, if they’re on sale. 

Hurrying into the store, you glance around for the weekly advertising piece that indicates which items will be offered at a discount. 

Trouble is, there’s no advertising piece this week, and no one to answer your questions.  If you want to purchase the items you most need at a discount, you’re forced to walk up and down each and every aisle until you find what’s available.

Doesn’t sound like much fun or an effective use of time, does it?  And yet this is the same type of frustration hiring managers are exposed to every time an applicant sends in a resume that fails to open with a well-written Qualifications Summary and/or Skill Set.

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What is a Qualifications Summary?

It’s a brief paragraph that showcases your most effective skills and experience as they pertain to your job search.  More importantly, it’s your chance to convince a hiring manager of the skills you can bring to the position. 

This is essential, given that hiring managers generally afford no more than 10 seconds to an applicant’s resume, unless they’re compelled to read further. 

So, how do you compel them to keep reading?

Let’s use this example:  You’re an accountant who has worked at XYZ Company for nine years and been promoted every time you’ve come up for review. 

Because of your organizational efforts, the company is saving $2500 monthly.  You’ve passed the CPA exam.  You’re skilled in Profit & Loss (P&L), audits, taxation matters, and internal controls.  Now, you want a Controller position.

Rather than including all of the aforementioned data in the body of the resume, where the hiring manager would be forced to look for it, but won’t (remember, you’ll be given 10 seconds before the hiring manager moves on), the wise candidate would write something like this:

Results-oriented, detailed professional with comprehensive accounting experience. Background includes consistent promotions to positions of increased responsibility. Skilled in P&L, audits, taxation, internal controls, and streamlining procedures, effecting a monthly savings of $2500 at XYZ Company. Recently passed the CPA exam; currently seeking a Controller position.

In five lines and a mere 45 words, you’ve given specific examples of what you can do (P&L, audits, taxation, internal controls), quantified an accomplishment (streamlining procedures, effecting a monthly savings of $2500 at XYZ Company), indicated past performance (consistent promotions to positions of increased responsibility), provided data on certification (recently passed the CPA exam), and provided your career path (currently seeking a Controller position). 

And you’ve done all of that in a well-written paragraph that’s interesting and easy to read. (Note that personal pronouns are not used here.  In business writing, which includes resumes, personal pronouns such as I, me, or my are never used).

Fine, you say, but what about an Objective?  Where does that go?

In the modern resume, an objective statement is no longer used.  The reason for this follows.

Qualifications Summary vs. the Objective

In the outmoded Objective, the candidate told the hiring manager what he wanted, whether that was a job at the company, room for advancement, a chance to use a new college degree, or any other reason an applicant could think of and the hiring manager could dismiss as self-serving. 

On the other hand, the Qualifications Summary proactively declares what the candidate can do for the targeted company, which places the hiring manager’s needs first.   A wise applicant always uses a Qualifications Summary, either by itself or combined with a Skill Set.

What is a Skill Set?

Generally speaking, it's a list of your core competencies as they relate to your targeted career goal.  Again, let’s take the example of the accountant who has just passed the CPA exam and now wants to be a controller.

Rather than presenting all of that data in the qualifications summary, a portion of it would be showcased as a tag line (professional title or title of job you’re targeting) and skill set, and might look something like this (followed by a reworked qualifications summary paragraph):

Results-oriented, detailed professional with comprehensive accounting experience. Background includes consistent promotions to positions of increased responsibility for notable achievements, including $2500 in monthly savings at XYZ Company by streamlining procedures.

This time, the first two lines, which contain just 15 words, present core strengths quickly and effortlessly.

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