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Resume Tips: Skill Overkill Dulls Resume and Weakens Job Chances

Your resume needs a job target; If it's on your resume it should reflect the target.

Your resume needs a job target; If it's on your resume it should reflect the target.

What is a resume? A document that lists all the information about your job experience, right? Yes and no.

Yes, it’s information about your job experience. No,  it does not need to list every skill you bring to the table, just the right skills for the job you’re after.

A recent blog post from Palladian Staffing,  “A Resume to Guarantee a Failed Job Search,” examines the problems found in many resumes and offers some keen tips for improving your chances at landing the job you want. The post boils down the advice as:

Prioritize Your Skills – What are your three most marketable skills?  These are skills that relate directly to the position you are pursuing.  They are also skills where your skill level is high.

Review the Top of Your Resume – Read the top half of the first page of your resume.  Are you three most marketable skills mentioned prominently in this area?  How many other skills are mentioned?  Do you have any accomplishments showing your ability to contribute using your skills?

Emphasize Your Marketable Skills – List your top three skills in the first couple lines of your resume.  You want these skills to be so obvious, a hiring manager will never miss them.  Move your other skills down.  Your less marketable skills may still be beneficial on your resume but should appear within the body of your resume or listed at the bottom.

Add Accomplishments – Make sure you include at least one accomplishment where you used a skill to make a specific contribution to a company.

The key, says the post, is that hiring managers look to the strongest set of skills first, so you need to distill your strengths  for them and present the info quickly, easily and upfront. Too many skills listed with little or no weight given means the degradation of all the skills in the eyes of the resume reader.  That is a recipe for time wasting, confusion and ultimate failure.

In the article “Four Ways to Show You Meet the Job Requirements,” recruiters and HR experts share some more details on what to consider in putting in that resume once you’ve targeted the job you are after. The article suggests the following:

Quantify: Sum up the bottom-line effect of specific projects in which you participated, and be ready to assign a dollar figure to the role you played; be able to describe that role and why the estimation makes sense.  (Russell Watkins, principal of Executive Search Professionals)

Certify: If you’re in a heavily regulated industry that requires certifications for specific job roles, don’t even apply until you have the right ones. Once you have them, list them high in your resume to make it clear that you have them and get them out of the way. (Sharon Jautz, an HR consultant specializing in online and digital media)

Show Experience: Make sure you either have the right number of years of experience or can make it obvious in your resume and cover letter that you prefer the level of responsibility in this job and won’t be moving on any time soon. (Russell Watkins)

Get Your Hands Dirty: In your resume, talk up your leadership and strategic contributions, but don’t forget to show what part of the project you accomplished personally, and show them how. (Shane Cox, manager of talent acquisition at Harvard Business Publishing)

The overall theme: Think about readers of the resume, and give them what they are looking for easily. Remember, you are not the only candidate they are considering, so respect their time and focus their energy on your strengths.

More resume advice:

How to Pass Employer Screening Requirements

Where Does Your Resume Go? How Job Listings Are Filled

Lying on Your Resume: How Far to Stretch the Truth

[Image by Editor B via Flickr CC 2.0]

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One comment for “Resume Tips: Skill Overkill Dulls Resume and Weakens Job Chances”

  1. Good tips…But!

    These days, it’s very important to design a resume for use both on paper, and to transfer electronically. Unless you’re careful, emailed or web-submitted content can get easily garbled.

    Here are some great tips for using the internet the right way to help land that new job:

    Best of luck.

    Posted by David | January 9, 2010, 3:55 pm

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