Job seekers often communicate a first impression through their résumés. In the newly updated edition of "Expert Résumés for Managers and Executives," authors Wendy Enelow and Louise Kursmark stress the importance of a strong résumé for all applicants.
"A vital component of your career management plan is your résumé, which must instantly position you as a well-qualified and highly competitive candidate," the authors say. "The easiest way to accomplish that objective is by developing a powerful, performance-based résumé."
In their book, Enelow and Kursmark provide numerous résumé samples, divided by career field, that are aimed at people at all levels of management, from front-line supervisors to top-level executives. They also offer nine strategies for writing effective résumés:
1. Write for the job you want: "You cannot write an effective résumé without knowing, at least to some degree, what type or types of positions you will be seeking."
2. Sell it to me, don't tell it to me: "If you 'tell it,' you simply state facts. If you 'sell it,' you promote it, advertise it and draw attention to it."
3. Use keywords: "Keywords are ... specific to a particular industry or profession. When you use these words and phrases, you are communicating a specific message."
4. Use the "big" and save the "little": "Try to focus on the 'big' things -- revenue and profit growth, new initiatives and ventures, special projects, cost savings ... then save the 'little' stuff -- the details -- for the interview."
5. Make your résumé "interviewable": After "you are contacted for a telephone or in-person interview, your résumé becomes all-important in leading and prompting your interviewer during your conversation."
6. Eliminate confusion with structure and context: "Be consistent, make information easy to find and define the context in which you worked."
7. Use function to demonstrate achievement: "A résumé that focuses on your job functions can be dry and uninteresting and says little about your unique activities and contributions."
8. Remain in the realm of reality: "Do not push your skills and qualifications outside the bounds of what is truthful."
9. Be confident: "There is only one individual with the specific combination of employment experience, qualifications, achievements, education and technical skills that you have."
"Your résumé can have tremendous power and a phenomenal impact on your job search. So don't take it lightly," Enelow and Kursmark say. "Rather, devote the time, energy and resources that are essential to developing a résumé that is well-written, visually attractive and effective in communicating who you are and how you want to be perceived."