Resumés that make the phone ring

October 31, 2014 / by / 0 Comment

By Dave Stakebake
GCU Career Services

Dave Stakebake and Lily Schwartz of GCU's Career Services office take a look at a resumé.

Dave Stakebake and Lily Schwartz of GCU’s Career Services office take a look at a resumé.

After almost a decade of experience working as a recruiter and now career adviser, I have seen a fair share of resumés cross my desk. After all this time, it is still difficult to hear a job seeker say he or she has spent hours on their resumé, but isn’t attracting interview offers.  Hopefully, my top five tips will get you on the right track and keep your phone ringing.

Tip #1: Organize and make the resumé easy to read

Recruiters only spend 10 to 20 seconds scanning a resumé looking for specific pieces of information pertinent to the position for which they are hiring.

  • Headings should be clearly defined and the content informative (especially the top one-third of the document).
  • Bullet points are good, but no more than three different styles. Recruiters are more likely to read a few bullets than a lengthy paragraph.
  • Certain words, such as your name, headings, university attended, companies or position titles, should be in boldface to guide the reader through the document.

Tip #2: Summary over objective

Use a summary statement rather than an objective. An objective is a statement of the position you want and the employer you for which you want to work — a moot point. The employer already knows you want to work there by your application. The summary statement is all about the reader — you’re appealing or selling yourself to the hiring manager.

  • Summary statements highlight your greatest attributes. Include information such as your top two or three strengths and tell the reader what the company will gain by reading the rest of your résumé and hiring you.

Tip #3: Accomplishments and achievements

The resumé is a marketing tool and should be focused on your accomplishments and achievements:

  • Focus on what you have done and can do for the employer. Simply stating what your duties were or are at a position doesn’t get the job done.
  • Use strong verbs and adjectives to draw attention, “developed,” “increased,” “initiated,” “effectively,” “promoted,” and “consistently,” are a few examples.

Tip #4: One resumé does not fit all

Resumés should be catered or tailored towards a specific position or a specific organization. Gone are the days of completing one resumé and sending it out to numerous different companies.  Each resumé should be customized.

  • Research the company — what are their mission, vision and values? What are the key skills requested in the job description? The more your resumé sounds like the organization the better off you will be.
  • Modify your summary statement to include key words used by the company and identify significant accomplishments in past positions that match the desired job description.

Taking the time to focus the resumé before sending it out greatly increases your chances of being noticed during their initial scan.

Tip #5: Review the resumé and then do it again

I cannot stress the importance of proofreading your resumé enough. One typo and your chances of being invited to an interview can drastically decrease. Making sure that your resumé is free of grammatical errors also is crucial. The quality of a resumé says a lot about you — attention to detail, the quality of work to be expected, your interest in the position. After completing your document, go through it a few times and then walk away. Take some time away from it and then review it a few hours or even a day later, you may be surprised when you look at it again with fresh eyes. You’re not in this job search alone, so reach out to family, friends and the GCU Career Advisors as an extra set of eyes. The one thing everyone agrees on is that misspellings and errors on resumés don’t make a phone ring.

Getting interviews is hard work, and it’s just not good enough to list your past jobs and duties on your resumé. It takes time, research and creative writing. If you do not have a resumé and would like to create one, our Resumé Architect is a great tool to help you get started. You also may view our resumé tip videos. They’re all just a click away at, or you can stop by the Career Services office in Camelback Hall or call 602-639-6606 to connect. Please use any of our tools to identify your career path, build your resumé, research career options or apply to current job postings.

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