Resumes Employers Want to See

You’ve heard it before with varied statistics: People spend anywhere from 7 to 30 seconds looking at your resume. As a hiring-manager-turned-career-coach, I want to share two simple tips to increase the effectiveness of your resume by thinking like the employer.

There’s a ton of advice floating around on getting your resume noticed: results, results, results, short bullets that don’t wrap to a second line, font, white space, results, etc. That’s all true, and important.

Let’s pause and remember that employers scan resumes. Why? It’s not just that they’re busy. Their brain is doing a matching exercise in the most efficient way it knows how: It’s performing a key word search aligned to their needs.

Help them find what they’re looking for!

First, print the job description and highlight the key requirements you meet.

Incorporate the verbiage they use in the job description into your resume for everything that is true of you.

Don’t embellish.

Language matters because it’s integral to the organization. If you mirror their language, your resume will resonate and form an opinion of stronger alignment and fit.

For example, if you have experience on your resume with Risk Managementand they’re asking for Risk Mitigation, change Management to Mitigation. If your resume says Process Improvement and they indicate Process Effectiveness, adjust your resume to match their language. You get the idea.

One very important note: You don’t want to re-write, verbatim, the job description under your experience, you just want to pull out powerful key words. The resume should align, not plagiarize.

For example:

If the job description requirement states:

  • Ensuring ongoing Enterprise Architecture compatibility

Your resume might state:

  • Established best practices while ensuring existingenterprise architecture compatibility

Next, reorder your experience to match their priorities.

The employer is revealing something subtly, yet not so subtly, in the job description: What is most important to them.

The most central requirements of the available position will be listed first. Ensure your matching experience is ordered accordingly. If strong stakeholder relationship management is the first requirement they list, ensure it’s not the last bullet listed in your experience.

To create an even more powerfully aligned resume, you might consider removing items from your resume that are completely unrelated, unless it’s a very impressive result.

These simple steps will help the employer’s brain create a strong connection between you and what they need.

All the best to you!

How to Customize Your LinkedIn URL

I always advise my clients to put their LinkedIn URL on their resume. However, you don’t want to use the standard URL, you want to create a custom URL, because the default has numbers and characters in it like this:

Instead of this:​

You want your URL to emphasize your brand, which the extraneous characters detracts from. Here are simple instructions how to give yourself a “vanity” LinkedIn URL:

All the best to you!


Make Your Resume Pop!

Have you applied for a job you really wanted lately, only to be greeted with the disappointing sound of silence from the employer? If you’re applying for jobs you’re qualified to do and not getting anywhere, a fresh look at your resume is in order.

First, it’s important to emphasize the bulk of resume advice is simply opinionand preference. My resume advice is no different. Job seekers often experience frustration when they have three people review their resume because they receive three different opinions (e.g. Your resume should be one page. Your resume should only be two pages. Your resume should only list ten years of work history). And on and on it goes.

I’m going to share excerpts of one of the resume templates I use that’s provided great success for many job seekers. I like to share my tools with people because my amazing mother, Judi, raised me to have an attitude of abundance. Give, and it shall be given unto you.

Keep in mind, different types of roles may call for different types of templates, and some people should use a functional resume instead of a chronological resume. You can do a search on these terms, but, in a nutshell, functional resumes are used when you have gaps in employment, or you’re trying to break into a new field. Chronological resumes are used for people progressing in their chosen field.

The first thing you need to do is create a master resume. A master resume contains everything: all your work history, professional accomplishments, strengths, awards, certifications, education, volunteer work, publications, memberships, training, etc.

When you apply for a specific role, you’ll take elements from the master and tailor a new version of your resume to the opportunity you’re applying for. You’ll want to incorporate the requirements they’re seeking (that are true of you), and your results, skills, and strengths that are most related to the job. Yes, you should tailor a resume to every job you apply for!

Let’s start with the header of your resume. The header is so important, because many people don’t read resumes, they skim them.


You’re probably wondering a few things:

1. Where’s the address?

I never put an address on my client’s resumes because of privacy concerns in these days of technology and, well, Google Earth. Also, you don’t want people tossing your resume assuming you live too far from the job.

2. What about an objective statement?

Sometimes I do use objective statements. It depends. One reason to use an objective statement is when you’re trying to relocate, or transition to a new field. It helps keep people from pigeon-holing you into the city, or career, you’re trying to flee.

However, you should never use a generic objective statement, because it doesn’t add any value. Example:

“Seeking a progressive organization where I can use my skills to contribute to an inventive culture, and continue to grow in my career.”


If you use an objective statement it needs to be specific to the role and emphasize the value you will bring the employer:

“Seeking to serve as an associate photo editor, offering extensive knowledge of digital and film photography and graphic design to contribute to high quality publications.”

A few tips on the header:

  • Your email address should contain your first and last name. It’s professional, it reinforces your name, and it’s easy to remember. If your email, you should set up a free web email account, such as gmail, or yahoo, for your job search. If you have a common name is already taken, you can try adam.smith, adam_smith, adam.g.smith, or adam_smith71.
  • The Career Profile should be a summary of who you are as a professional. If a manager had nothing else but this paragraph, he/she should be able to tell what your role is, and what your key strengths are.
  • [Update: Big thanks to Susan Osborn for mentioning the LinkedIn profile link in the header, which I’d mistakenly omitted from my screenshot!]

Here’s another example that clearly illustrates a candidate’s background:

Let’s move on to the Professional Experience section.

The critical tip on your experience section is to list results. If you simply list responsibilities, and you’re an accountant, your resume will look like every other accountant. It may even look worse, if they’ve included results.

For example, instead of this:

  • Responsible for reviewing and reconciling vendor invoices

Do this:

  • Excellent investigative and financial skill led to prevention of $100,000 in annual vendor over-payment

Results. Results. Results.

Other sections you may wish to include in your resume, beneath work experience:

  • Education
  • Volunteer and Community
  • Certifications
  • Publications
  • Memberships
  • Awards

There are so many resume tips, I simply can’t include them here without turning this article into a manual. However, I will leave you with one more tip:

Have two fussy and detailed-oriented people proof-read your resume to verify it is error-free. Your resume must be free of grammatical and spelling errors.

Please share your resume tips (e.g. don’t put “References available on request” on your resume) with readers in the comments to increase the value of this post.

All the best to you!​

Critique Your Resume Using This Checklist!


​This checklist can help improve the overall quality of your resume.

First Impression

  • The resume looks original and not based on a template.
  • The resume is inviting to read, with clear sections and ample white space.
  • A qualifications summary is included so the reader immediately knows the applicant’s value.

Contact Information

  • Contact is simple with first/last name, email and phone number. Address is optional. City, State only helps with privacy.

Objective (Optional)

  • Career summary or branded headline is brief and simple, customized to the position, explains what applicant has that meets employer’s needs, and the value the employer will receive.


  • Shows each school, degree, major, and accomplishments. Years are optional.
  • High school omitted if a college degree has been obtained


  • The font is easy to read and has no more than 3 font sizes.
  • Use of bolding and underlines are appropriate and limited.
  • Bullets do not wrap to another line where possible.
  • Spacing and margins are consistent throughout resume.
  • All resume sections are clearly labeled.
  • Sections are placed in the best order to highlight applicant’s strongest credentials.
  • The work history is listed in reverse chronological order (most recent job first, unless using a functional resume).
  • The resume is one page or 1 ½ -2 pages maximum.
  • If resume goes to a second page, contact information and the words “Page 2” are at the top.

Writing Style

  • Personal pronouns (I, me or my) are omitted.
  • The content flow is logical and easy to understand.
  • The phrase “References available on request” is not used.
  • The resume is free of typos, spelling, grammar, or syntax errors.
  • The resume is succinct, without excessive blocks of wordy paragraphs.


  • The resume includes a relevant sample of career accomplishments.
  • Accomplishments are quantified by using numbers, percentages, and dollar amounts as measures of success where possible.
  • Accomplishment statements begin with strong, varied action verbs (present job = present tense or past job = past tense).
  • Each statement describing work experience is prioritized in order of importance/relevance.


  • The resume is tailored to the job requirements.
  • The resume uses appropriate keywords and industry acronyms.
  • Applicable additional information, such as awards and affiliations, is included.

Remember: Most resume is advice is personal opinion, but there are best practices such as including results, tailoring your resume to a position, your resume being error free, easy to read, and having appropriate use of white space and visual appeal.