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Resume Editing

Gain helpful tips on how to edit your resume to clearly state your career goals and job objectives.

The Future is Now

by Kevin Donlin

Are you a slave to your past?

You may be ... if your resume focuses only on the duties you've held, instead of the results you can produce.

Doing so will limit your career progress.

Let's fix that.

Let's write a resume that makes employers pick up the phone, call you for an interview and ask: "Can you do that for me, too?"

Here's how, using "before" and "after" examples from actual resumes.

1) Start with the right opening statement.

Focus on what you can DO for an employer, not on what you want from that employer.

This "before" example misses badly:


My objective is to find a job that is challenging, and a job that will utilize my four year degree.

Wrong. Employers don't really care if you're challenged or if you picked the right major in college.

Here's how I rewrote that opening:


Seeking inside sales/support position where sales, client service and technical skills will add value.

See the difference? Make it bold and obvious what you want to do in your next job.

2) Most important information goes first.

As a rule, the more relevant the information is to the job you want, the closer it should be to the top of your resume.

Example: if you're a recent college grad with an MIS degree, who wants a job in computer programming, your resume could follow this order:


If you're a retail manager with 10 years of experience and a degree not related to retail, you could follow this order on your resume:


Shoot your big guns first. Never assume busy employers will read every word of your resume.

3) Make your value obvious to employers.

Here's where almost everybody could use a little help. To stand out from the hundreds of resumes most employers see every week, you MUST turn duties and responsibilities into specific results on your resume.

It's a major shift in thinking that will pay huge dividends in your job search.

Done right, employers reading your resume will think: "This person can do just what I'm looking for!"

This "before" example comes from a client who wanted a job in sales. Here's how he described his latest position, in customer service:

"This job gave me a good look at the financial aspect of customer service. I learned how to deal with volatile customers, and mastered the art of defusing a hot customer."

But what does this have to do with sales? Nothing, really.

Since all sales managers want sales reps who are competitive and beat goals, I rewrote that description with his desired sales job in mind, like this:

"Regularly exceeded goals by providing service during 80% of available time, ranking in top 10% of employees for efficient handling of inquiries."

(He left his bank teller job and got a great position in sales last month, by the way.)

You can do this, too.

By focusing on what you can do, putting the elements in relevant order, and proving your value with specific achievements, your next resume could be your ticket to a new and better job.

Kevin Donlin owns and operates Guaranteed Resumes. Since 1995, he has provided resumes, cover letters and online job-search assistance to clients. He is the author of The Last Guide to Cover Letter & Resume Writing You'll Ever Need, a do-it-yourself manual with sample cover letters and resumes.