Connect the Dots Resume Writing

Initially, readers may give your resume a 7- to 10-second glance.  Really.  (When I started this work over 10 years ago, we use to say it was 20 seconds.)

You have a very small window of opportunity to make an impression.  It is your job to connect the dots between what you offer and what the employer seeks.

You could be perfect for the job, but unless you quickly capture their attention and connect your skills with their needs, you won’t land an interview. Consider how to make yourself the perfect candidate. Specify your skills and accomplishments in your resume; don’t assume the reader will stop to think about what you have to offer. It’s your job to fill in the blanks and help the reviewer envision you working for them.

Two key “dots” for you to connect involve:
(1) knowing your skills and what you have to offer and
(2) having a clear understanding of your prospective employer’s needs.

At Keppie Careers, we are skilled at helping with these important steps. Some strategies to consider…

** Knowing Your Skills **
Assess your skills and accomplishments. How? Talk to your friends and co-workers. Review written evaluations of your work. Think about the skills you use/d in your positions. Study a skills and accomplishments list.

What aspects of your job do you enjoy? What type of work do you hope to do in the future? What skills do you have that will be the stepping stones to getting to the next rung of your career ladder? Once you identify what you have to offer, it will be easier to connect the dots between the employer and you.

** Knowing the Employer **
What does the organization value? Use the job description as a guide and research the company using the internet and any available published material. For example, if the organization uses the words “team player” four times on their company home page, you will want to emphasize your ability to work well in teams. If possible, conduct informational meetings with people in the organization or those who know about it.

Once you can articulate your skills and you know what the employer wants, target and tailor your resume. Communicate exactly how your skills are a good fit for their position. Include accomplishments and buzz words that support your candidacy. The more specific connections you draw between you and the job, the more likely you are to land the interview.

Consider these sample resume bullet points:

Conducted patient interviews and managed data collection for large survey.

Demonstrated analytical skills and cultural sensitivity as leader of team conducting, coding and verifying 1000 patient interviews using SAS software.

The original bullet point expects the reader to jump to the conclusion that the applicant analyzed data. “Managing data collection” may imply analysis, but it is best to be specific. The terms “coding” and “verifying” clarify additional explicit skills.

The “After” bullet quantifies the size of the study and notes the applicant’s abilities regarding cultural sensitivity, which the writer knew from her research was something this company valued. It also mentions the software used.

Detailed descriptions are the keys to effective resume writing. Clarify skills and include quantifiable information whenever possible: numbers, percentages and dollar amounts all resonate with employers. Bring your resume to life!

Do you need to re-write your resume for every job? That would be impractical for most job seekers However, if you want to get your foot in the door, your resume must clearly outline how your skills and accomplishments solve a problem for the employer.  It is your job to offer clear reasons to interview you.

Let Keppie Careers help you create a resume that can be tweaked to appeal to a variety of jobs and organizations!


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March 2008
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