Achieve Your Career Goals - Career Management Articles

"Beyond Resumé Platitudes: The Foundation for Goal Setting"


Excerpt from Chapter 3 of Job Search: The Total System™
Published by Total Career Resources

Don't Underestimate Your Resumé's Importance


Before you even think about writing a resumé, do yourself a favor. Purge from your mind any advice you've ever heard or read about the subject — how to write a resumé, how to avoid writing one, how to get a better job without one. When you put pencil on paper to create a resumé, make sure your brain is free of clutter.

Resumé Format

  • The format is chronological order (most recent experience first).
  • The resumé is two pages long. (New graduates, entry levels, administrative support people, or workers in a trade may use one page.)
  • Main Headings:
     - Name/Address/Phone(s)
     - Objective
     - Summary
     - Professional Experience
     - Education
     - Technical Skills
     - Professional Associations

Include Key Words

Many companies utilize computer applicant tracking systems to manage the glut of resumés they receive and to facilitate the initial selection process. These databases search for key words to identify candidates with the background and skills required for positions. For this reason, it is important to include the nouns and technical terms that reflect your skills and knowledge and sought after characteristics such as team player and problem solver.


The First Commandment of Job Search is Linkage. It means that every step you take in job search ties in with the previous step you took and the next one you plan. Each phone call, each networking contact, each letter of reference, each resumé you send, each interview -- they are all linked. And your resumé is the key link in this process.

Any time you get into trouble (you will — we all do, sooner or later), count on the resumé to rescue the interview, as surely as a lighthouse guides a foundering vessel to port. For example:

Beth found herself straying from the interviewer's question. Realizing that she was losing the interviewer's attention, she said, "I've given you more detail than your question asked for, but as my resumé reflects, my attention to detail has enabled me to achieve significant results." The interviewer used Beth's cue to ask his next question concerning her accomplishments.

This is just one example of linkage in action. That's how a powerful resumé sets the stage for a winning interview.

The Bottom Line Resumé Gets Results

Under "Professional Experience," list company and title followed by a bulleted list of accomplishment statements. A true accomplishment must meet one of the following tests to aid the company:

  • Achieved more without utilizing increased resources.
  • Achieved the same but reduced resources utilization.
  • Achieved improved operations or relations.
  • Achieved a goal for the first time under existing conditions.
  • Achieved resolution of problems with little or no negative effect.

Sample Accomplishment Statements

Your completed accomplishments statements should read like these:

  • Achieved a 25% cost reduction in the amount of $500,000 by creating and installing a complete accounting system by department in a large agency. (Whenever possible, include dollar amount.)
  • Created a profit and loss statement, by product, resulting in substantial increase in sales in the high-profit products. (If actual numbers cannot be given, utilize the term "substantial" or similar qualifiers.)