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Qualified Candidates – Poorly Written Resumes
by Linda Matias

Are You Jeopardizing Your Career Potential?

You’ve sent your resume to dozens of potential employers yet you haven’t heard back from any of them. You were certain that your detailed work history would attract many bites – what went wrong?

The most likely cause of your predicament is a poorly constructed resume that reads more like a dull obituary than an attention-grabbing advertisement selling your skills and talent. Many potential employers are turned off by resumes that resemble carbon copies of Joe Schmo’s and will pitch these offenders into the trash bin.

10 Steps To A Compelling Resume

Resurrecting your resume is not a lost cause; you can create an attention-grabbing resume that advertises your unique skills and experience in a professional manner.

As a qualified job seeker, you owe it to your career success to give serious attention to the first impression you make.

1. Create a career objective that is relevant to the position to which you are applying. You may have to create several versions of your resume if you are applying for different positions.

2. Summarize – don’t provide a word-by-word description – of your work experience. Make sure it includes any achievements and accomplishments you obtained.

3. Don’t leave out relevant coursework or projects. Many job seekers overlook these details, but they can add diversity and spice.

4. Similar to step #3 – include relevant school, occupational, and professional activities.

5. Use action words such as – accomplished, coordinated, and formulated – to describe your experience and skills. This type of wording keeps your resume interesting and compelling.

6. Try to keep the resume to one page. You never know, the potential employer may have attention-deficit disorder and become frustrated with a lengthy resume.

7. Use high quality resume paper that is white or cream in color. Black ink plays nicely off these colors by providing a nice contrast.

8. Exclude any reference to religious activities or affiliations because they are usually not relevant or helpful in getting that interview.

9. Make sure you have distinctive breaks between sections. This is visually pleasing and it makes the content easier to read by the prospective employer.

10. Highlight, highlight, and highlight your distinct talents throughout the resume. Don’t fall into the trap of regurgitating your old job descriptions. Make the resume your personal calling card.

Stimulating Resumes Matter

Using the steps above will enable you to create a resume that stands out from the competition in a spirited job market. It is important that you also evaluate your unique needs and select a resume format that best represents your talents – be it a chronological, functional, or combination format. A resume is your first, or last, contact with a potential employer – make it your best.

Linda Matias may be contacted at

Author of How to Say It: Job Interviews (Publisher Prentice Hall Publishing, August 2007), Linda Matias is qualified to assist you in your career transition, whether it be a complete career makeover, interview preparation, or resume assistance. You can contact Linda directly at or visit her website for additional career advice and to view resume samples.


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