Nothing is as much of a foundational piece of your job search as your resume. If you think of the job search as a sales process (and you should), then your resume is your marketing document. What does your resume say about you? Does it grab the attention of the reader like it should? Does it give the reader the information he or she needs to make the decision to call you in for an interview to find out more?

The first fourth of your resume is the key to grabbing the attention you need.

Your resume will be read a lot like a newspaper. If the headline doesn’t grab the reader’s attention, the article won’t get read. The first fourth of your resume should include who you are along with a few of your key accomplishments. For the most part, the days of a resume objective are over. We know what your objective is: to find a job. Embed the explanation yourself and your skills into your summary, and then add your key accomplishments right below it highlighted with bullet points.

The one exception to that is if you are transitioning to a new job. You need to provide an explanation of what you want and how your skills will transfer to your new career. If not, the reader will be very confused as to why you’re applying for a position you have no background for. In this case, an objective is absolutely necessary.

You not only want to highlight who you are, but also what you’ve done. As much as you can, talk in numbers, percentages, or dollars. Every person can quantify their accomplishments. It can be improved productivity, increased service, reduced costs, increased percentage of satisfied customers, increased sales or profitability—get the idea? You must have some type of quantified results.

What’s next? Get right into your job experiences. Reverse chronological listing is best. Some candidates are tempted to organize it by topic or functionality, but that makes the reader have to search for what you’ve done lately, which they really want to know. Remember, you don’t want the reader to have to work to understand your resume.

In your job history, use bullet points, not paragraphs. Paragraphs are hard to read, and they make it easy for the reader to miss key points. If you don’t make your resume easy to read and get the relevant information, it’s very likely that it will get put aside “for later,” and never picked up again.

Final tips:

White space is great.

If you’re in IT, or certain other technical fields, it’s a great idea to list your tool set right after your accomplishments.

If you’ve been out of school for a while, put your education on the back end.

No matter what, if you’re working with a specialty recruiter, take that recruiter’s advice on your resume. Change what ever the recruiter tells you to change, because they know their clients and they know their market. Take advantage of the recruiter’s superior experience.

Author's Bio: 

Peggy McKee has over 15 years of experience in sales, sales management, sales recruiting, and career coaching. Her website, Career Confidential ( is packed with job-landing tips and advice as well as the practical, powerful, innovative tools every job seeker needs to be successful.
Jeff Lipschultz of A-List Solutions, ( a recruiting firm specializing in placing management and technology professionals, collaborated with Peggy McKee on this article.