Whether you’re out of work looking for another job or are at the end of your rope at a dead-end job, it seems that everyone is drafting a resume these days. It’s truly a buyers’ market in the job market today, and you only have 20-30 seconds to make an impression upon your target audience. It’s more important than ever to highlight your accomplishments, identify the value you bring to a company, and call out your personal assets that make you remarkable quickly and succinctly in your resume.


But for most people, writing a resume is daunting. It seems so self-aggrandizing, because, well, IT IS! The fact is that you want your resume to read like a bunch of your fans got together and drafted the piece. So try to think of how the president of your fan club, who is familiar with your whole body of work, would write your resume.

What would that person write?
What words would they use to convince the person receiving the resume to give you an interview?

Clearly, you need to do a little planning and get it down on paper. A little planning now will be helpful in hitting your target in the company you’d like to join. Here are some planning tips you can use to build your resume.

Clarify Your Objective or Target

Remember you only have 20 seconds to make an impression. So tell them what you want to do for their company in the objective statement. Be sure to incorporate language they use in their job post to make it easier for them to separate your resume from the rest of the pack. Even though, you are sending your resume and cover letter to a live person within your target organization, your resume may also be filed away for future reference; therefore, it’s a good idea to get the organization’s keywords into your objective statement or summary so that when they search for the keywords in their database your resume rises to the top of the heap.

Brainstorm to Identify Your Strongest Skills

Sure, you can do it all, but where do you truly excel. Now is the time to highlight the strengths that best meet the needs of the job for which you’re applying. So do that. For example, if you’re applying for a position as a Regional Sales Manager focus skills like interviewing, training, budgeting, collaboration, as opposed to those skills that would be well-suited to a Leasing Consultant.

List Your Accomplishments, Both Large & Small

Now is not the time to be modest. Now is the perfect time to brag a bit on what you’ve done. List your accomplishments. Use numbers to demonstrate how fantastic you are. What you did for your previous team, you can do for your new team. List the awards you’ve won for your work. Hardware and recognition make you a more desirable team member.

Make Note of Clubs, Professional Affiliations, Associations and Charitable Organizations with which You’re Involved

The adage “birds of a feather flock together” applies to your jobs search beautifully. Ideally, the person who is receiving your resume knows you. However, many companies require a prospect to be vetted by a few people. Perhaps you’re a member of a local chapter of a national professional organization and the person on the vetting committee belongs to another. Chances are good that the person feel a kinship with you just based on the same affiliation and hold you in a positive light. This will give you an advantage over your competition and may be the edge you need to get over the wall.

Use Power Words in Your Resume

When you write your resume be sure to use Power Words, words that demonstrate you’re a star who will shine brightly for the company. Here are some good power words to get you started:
Ambitious, Adaptable, Accomplished, Achieved, Applied, Articulate, Broadened, Built, Credible, Compiled, Conceived, Conducted, Conceptualized, Consolidated, Delegated, Demonstrated, Determined, Eliminated, Ensured, Established, Executed, Focused, Friendly, Formulated, Generated, Guided, Implemented, Improved, Initiated, Influenced, Innovated, Knowledgeable, Launched, Loyal, Maintained, Managed, Modified, Negotiated, Organized, Prepared, Procured, Projected, Positive, Qualified, Reliable, Redesigned, Represented, Researched, Simplified, Structured, Streamlined, Succeeded, Supervised, Systematized, Trustworthy, Targeted, Utilized, Verified, Vigorous, Versatile, and Willing.

Use these tips to pre-plan your resume, and you’ll create one that stands out from the pack.