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Resumes That Win and Resumes That Fail

By Jeremy Cyrus 03/14/2014
Resumes That Win and Resumes That Fail

Great resumes address each section and subheading with flair, professionalism, and confident style. Weak resumes usually tend to make a set of similar and common mistakes. Here are a few classic differences between the resumes that win and the ones that fall short.

Summary section

Resumes that win usually start with a short, clear, and very specific summary section. Every sentence is packed with substance and no phrase or claim would work in any resume other than this one.

Resumes that fail are usually clunky, awkward, and difficult to read. They make vague claims that are packed with generic buzzwords and contain sentences that sound like this: "Hard working superstar looking for work in retail industry. Need opportunity for excellence to shine and career."

Education section

Resumes that win list the facts only, and they don't miss a single detail. They state every institution, every degree earned, and every completion date. They also include valedictorian status and any special academic honors.

Resumes that fail try to hide and spin the facts in transparent ways. They conveniently omit graduation dates, don't include courses of study, and sometimes exaggerate easily verifiable details like GPAs.

Work history section

Resumes that win include straightforward details about a job seeker's special accomplishments, the awards she earned, the extra effort she invested, and the leadership responsibilities she took on.

Resumes that fail tend to emphasize the job seekers basic job responsibilities and contain phrases like this: "Managed inventory and conducted all required tasks as necessary. Served customers on a daily basis."

Skills Section

Resumes that win include every skill set that bears relevance to the job, and a few that showcase the job seeker's personal interests and abilities. Resumes that fail list skill sets that are universal, like proficiency with Microsoft Word. Managers read this section to learn more about a candidate's personal passions for sports, artistic pursuits, and special areas of knowledge.

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