How to Write a Great Resume (Part 2)

Writing a great resume means having a great flow to what you present and the order you present it. In Part 2 of this series, Get-It-Done Guy explans how to craft a resume that will get you the job.

Stever Robbins
5-minute read
Episode #293

In Part 1 of this series on writing resumes, we explored a bigger-picture resume strategy: the need to tell the story of how the potential employer will benefit from having you around, the need to customize for each employer, and the need to delay sending in a resume as long as humanly possible. Check out Part 1 for a refresher on these important points..

Today, we’re going to plunge into the mysterious thicket of the resume organization itself.

People Don't Read From Start to Finish

Imagine a hiring manager named Bo. Bo is a busy person who needs to find someone who can be an insanely great team member, think outside the box when necessary, and be content in what is largely going to be a rote, meaningless job devoid of challenge, excitement, or any real substance. There’s a stack of 50 resumes on the desk, and only 10 minutes to read them all, because what hiring manager actually plans their day to include enough time for recruiting-related tasks? If you want that job, your resume must immediately say, “Bo? Bo…You really want to meet me! Give me a call. Let’s do lunch.”

Bo is going to scan the resumes. Scanning isn’t reading. Scanning is looking at the job titles, the first few words of the first few bullet points, and deciding whether this resume can be disqualified or not. Only if the resume passes the scan will it get read in detail. Your resume must seduce, and must do it by scanning.

Use a Summary, Not an Objective

Let’s start at the top. Many people include an “Objective” section. Objectives do not seduce. Your resume tells the story of how you’ll help them, not the story of what you want. Bo doesn’t care what your objective is. Sad, but true. So don’t include it. If you want a powerful lead-in section to your resume (maybe because you have to fill some extra white space), include a “Summary” section, with the three or four points you want them to remember about why their life will be so much better with you in it. Then the rest of your resume gives evidence of that fact. '

Here's a sample summary:

“I’ll expand your company into new markets. My negotiating skills will help you get better terms from your vendors across the board, and they’ll thank you for it. Teams get more done when I’m on them. Cars run faster and cleaner. Light bulbs require less power when I’m in the room. And with me on your team, you can lose weight without going to the gym, eating nothing but Oreo Ice Cream cake.”

Who wouldn’t want to call this person in for an interview?


About the Author

Stever Robbins

Stever Robbins was the host of the podcast Get-it-Done Guy from 2007 to 2019. He is a graduate of W. Edward Deming’s Total Quality Management training program and a Certified Master Trainer Elite of NLP. He holds an MBA from the Harvard Business School and a BS in Computer Sciences from MIT.