Each year, I review hundreds of resumes. Some are good but most are an uninspiring career obituary that is filled with buzz words, overused phrases, and open with an unclear statement that “tells” the employer what the job seeker is looking for in a job –the old-school “to utilize my skills and experience.”

Most of the resumes I review lack direction and are not aligned with the employer’s needs leaving the reader unable to discern exactly what direction the person is going in their career or the value they bring to the organization.

Your resume needs to clearly –

* Communicate your professional value. Who are you? How do your skills fit with the employer’s needs?
* Convey your experience and qualifications. Not your tasks and responsibilities. Tell your story and make it easy for the hiring authority to determine how you can solve their specific business pain.
* Differentiate you from others. What are your successes and accomplishments?

Unfortunately, job seekers throw together their work history using bullets to list basic job descriptions and tasks and they continue to hold fast to the belief that employers want an objective statement along with their full obituary of their career.

The more modern approach weaves a compelling story giving you greater odds for success.

Your resume should connect with your audience and build the hiring authority’s confidence in you by proving your value. A basic resume that lists jobs / tasks may help entry-level candidates win interviews, but for the accomplished professional, you need to demonstrate your value and frame how you made a difference.

Here are some pointers:

* Make it easy for hiring managers to grasp your value (answer the question: what can you do for me?); your unique experiences (answer the question: how did you make a difference?); and the impact of your efforts.
* Avoid using a generic objective statement or overused words / phrases (team player, hard-working, self-motivated.)
* Define the scope of your responsibility by adding details such as number of direct / indirect reports, size of budget and/or territory.
* Take the time to quantify your results.  
* Convey perception (how you want to be perceived); alignment (who you are and where you are going); and a summary (the argument for your worthiness to be hired for the position).

Your resume should tell your unique story and not replicate someone else’s documents. Create a strategy by answering the following:

* What is your career goal?
* Who is your target audience?
* What value do you offer (skills and competencies for the targeted industry)?

Begin with the end in mind. Having a clear direction will help shorten your job search.

I encourage you to be bold and set yourself apart!

Tammy Shoup is a career storyteller and professional resume writer who helps career professionals, thought leaders, rising stars, and high-level executives create branded resumes that demonstrate their unique value, engage their target audience, and give them a competitive edge in their field. She is a multi-certified advanced resume writer with 20 years’ experience writing words that change lives.