The Simple Way to Write a Killer Resume

The Simple Way to Write a Killer Resume

“On the average, five times as many people read the headlines as read the body copy.  It follows that, unless your headline sells your product, you have wasted 90 percent of your money.” David Ogilvy, Confessions of an Advertising Man

During the three decades I worked as a recruiter, I scanned thousands of resumes.  I say scanned, because I spent less than ten seconds looking at most of these resumes.

Hiring managers and recruiters don’t actually read most resumes.  Resumes must grab the reader’s attention.  They must compel the reader to read them.

If they don’t, hiring managers and recruiters just don’t read them, and, if it’s your resume, you don’t get an interview.

I contracted with over a hundred hiring companies, and I received positive and negative feedback on resumes.  Here are three things I learned.


State what you did as accomplishments.  For example, don’t simply say that you did A, B, and C.  Say that you accomplished #1, #2, and #3 by doing A, B, and C.  You will increase the impact of your resume and separate yourself from other people who just list job titles.

Simple Format

Layout the resume in a simple format with the most important information at the top of the resume.


Use keywords. These are words that will show up in a resume search.  These words are job titles, names of companies and products, names of skills, names of schools, certificates, degrees, etc.

Here is a simple format.


Your name
Street address
City, State Zip
Home phone
Cell phone
Email address

Stating an objective or a giving a summary at the beginning of the resume is common practice.  Stating an objective or providing a summary is optional.

There is no sentence structure in a resume.  The wording in a resume is simply a series of statements of actions and accomplishments.

For example, this is a sentence: I doubled the company’s sales in 6 months.
This is resume wording: Doubled company’s sales in 6 months.

The history in a resume is just a list that includes employment periods, performance, skills, responsibilities, accomplishments, and education.

(Most recent job first)
Company Name; company Location, From –to
Most recent title, Location, From – to

Use bullet format.
•        List things you have accomplished.  Do not waste space on your just giving a job description.  List things that showed that you made a difference in the positions you held.
•        Use facts—for example, exceeded assigned sales goal by 30%, reduced costs, promoted people, saved time, increased productivity, etc.
•        Employers and recruiters search their databases for specific words, so list successes with specific industry words or functions.  Include the real name of your product categories, product names, sales accounts, functions (e.g., Profit & Loss, Market Research or Software Names, New Product Development, Market Insights, Innovation), etc.

Next List Previous Titles at this company and again list successes and accomplishments in bullet format.

Then include Previous Companies going back in time from most recent.

Normally, education goes at the bottom of the resume.  People who have recently received an educational degree or credential that alters their employability might consider putting education at the top of the resume.

Other items that might go at the bottom of the resume are awards, extra skills, volunteer work, or perhaps some relevant college employment.

How to Shorten Your Resume for Readability

Avoiding the following items might make the difference whether a hiring manager reads your resume.

References available on request
Long paragraph formats
Long-winded discussions of core responsibilities
Too many details on jobs with well-known functions
Details on jobs that date back in time
Paragraph formatting
Third person reference

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