How to Get Employers to Read Your Résumé

The secret to making a C.V. stand out in a crowd? Hook the reader early, and trumpet results.

To make his introduction more powerful, Mr. Bill organized it around his accomplishments, as follows:

Manufacturing / Quality / Supply-Chain Management
Lean Manufacturing · JIT · TQM · Aerospace · Entertainment · Mining Equipment

  • Directed $60 million Walt Disney manufacturing operation, reducing production costs 20% to 40%, inventory costs 15% and vendor costs 50%, while improving quality 63% and on-time delivery 54%. Introduced JIT and lean processes into operation.
  • Managed tooling design and production for $50 million manufacturer of control systems — implemented TQM and improved quality and delivery 23%. Established engineering and manufacturing-engineering departments for start-up business that grew to $12 million in sales within two years.
  • An innovative and energetic leader, skilled communicator/team builder and adept negotiator. Proven ability to analyze production operations and growth opportunities, then introduce strategic and tactical solutions that improve competitive performance and efficiencies while reducing costs. M.B.A.; B.S., Industrial Technology.

This introductory section clearly showcases Mr. Bill’s successes. He used a banner headline to convey his strengths, and he presents his most important achievements. He concludes the section with additional information rounding out his background.

The change produced immediate results. After re-entering the job market in August, Mr. Bill sent 50 resumes. Within 15 days, he had eight interviews, which led to two firm and two pending offers. He started work Sept. 1 as director of supply chain and logistics for a Santa Ana, Calif.-based producer of capital equipment for computer-component manufacturing.

“Don’t tell readers how good you are, show them,” says Ms. Rosemarin. “Give them facts and figures — results. The results you show will excite the reader. Then they’ll read on.”

If your résumé starts with a convincing statement about your capability and successes, then in the brief moment your résumé is scanned, employers will be more likely to pause and call you for an interview.

Beyond the Initial Scan
Interviewers who are impressed with your introduction will read your entire résumé. For the strongest possible presentation, follow these guidelines.

  • Limit your résumé to two pages in length, and never use more than three pages. Summarize your early employment experiences to reduce length if necessary.
  • Prepare your résumé in 10-point or 11-point Arial or Times Roman typeface. Avoid fancy fonts.
  • For each employment experience, briefly state your responsibilities, followed by a description of your accomplishments. Precede each with a bullet. Focus your accomplishments on important contributions for past employers. Nothing is more impressive than explaining how you increased revenues and profits, improved product or service quality, increased operating efficiencies or reduced costs.
  • When discussing achievements, use numbers to show their extent. Also use the jargon of your field. For example, marketers should talk about brand management, market segmentation and competitive intelligence. If you’re in sales, discuss your strengths in consultative sales, solution sales, CRM, relationship building and management and closing. Manufacturing pros should relate their knowledge of process improvement, efficiency enhancement and cost reduction, including the technologies they implemented, such as lean manufacturing, Kaizen, Kanban, JIT, TQM and cellular manufacturing.
  • Use a strong action verb, such as planned, led, initiated, grew, drove, increased, improved or reduced, to begin each accomplishment statement.

Taking these steps can help you to write a powerful résumé and improve your chances of landing interviews and the job you want.

John Marcus, a career consultant and résumée writer in Sarasota, Fla., is author of “The Resume Doctor” (HarperCollins, 1996) and “The Complete Job Interview Handbook” (Harper & Row, 1994). You can visit his Web site at

Copyright © 2004 Dow Jones & Company, Inc. All Rights Reserved.


Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *