There’s a good reason why people decide to invest in a professionally written resume: it stands out from the pack. A professionally written resume doesn’t carry a headline — “WRITTEN BY A PROFESSIONAL!” — but it clearly conveys a unique tone and approach that makes it effective and, most importantly, gets it noticed. So what can you expect a professionally written resume to include? In other words, what makes it so great? Here are 5 characteristics of a professionally written resume:
1. It begins with an at-a-glance objective and client profile.
The first thing a reader of your resume will see is your objective — the position you’re targeting — as well as a series of quick, strong key words that immediately communicate who you are, what your core strengths entail, or what you’ve achieved. For example, this portion of the resume might look like this:
|SOLAR ENERGY PROJECT MANAGER
On-Time/On-Budget Delivery • Multi-Million-Dollar Revenue Growth • Cost Savings
2. It includes a dynamic, branded positioning statement.
Also called an “executive profile,” this section encompasses 3-5 sentences that encapsulate who you are and what you bring to the table. It includes a blend of your key skills, experience, and accomplishments. If you’re changing careers, this section also includes a statement highlighting how your background translates into or applies to your new field.
3. It features a key word section.
A key word section serves two functions. First, it provides an at-a-glance summary of your areas of expertise. Second, it leverages industry-standard language to maximize the chances of your resume popping up when a recruiter searches an online resume database. For a busy recruiter, the executive profile and key word section are easily scannable — and provide compelling reasons why he or she should keep reading.
4. It clearly separates job descriptions from accomplishments.
A professionally written resume caters to busy readers who have little time or inclination to slog through large paragraphs of text. By pulling out your accomplishments into scannable bullet points, a professionally written resume highlights your achievements immediately; and these, after all, are what will ultimately set you apart from other applicants.
5. It uses concise, strong language to provide the greatest possible impact.
A professionally written resume is free from spelling, grammar, and usage errors — but that should go without saying for any resume. What sets it apart is its usage of strong language, rich with action verbs, key words, and dynamic phrasing. Take a look at this before and after of an accomplishment:
I helped the company earn $4,000,000 in new revenue.
Played instrumental role in generating $4M new revenue by driving business development initiatives.
The “after” version, which is representative of what you’d find in a professionally written resume, starts with a strong action verb, avoids first-person pronouns, and clearly communicates both the result ($4 million in new revenue) and the cause (the business development initiatives). It’s dynamic, concise, and gets a reader’s attention.
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