New Jersey Career Connections logo
print button

Highly Effective Resumes

Here are several ground rules for maximizing the effectiveness of your resumes.

  1. Despite appearances, your resume is NOT about you or your work experience.  Instead it's about the employers you are targeting, and how they and their organization will be more successful if they hire you.

    Your goal as you write your resume is NOT to list or describe each of the jobs you've held in the past. Your goal is to convey the following message: I have the experience, the skills, the traits, and/or the talent or aptitudes that will enable me to contribute to your success.
  2. Some people are lucky enough to have a personal connection with a decision maker who hires you on the strength of a formal or informal job interview recommendation from people they trust. You may need to create multiple versions of your resume:
    • If you are trying to educate the members of your job search network about the overall capabilities and contributions you can offer prospective employers, you will need to develop a general purpose resume that highlights your signature capabilities and accomplishments.
    • If you are applying for a specific position, you will want to create an employer-specific resume that emphasizes your capabilities and accomplishments that are most relevant to that job or job title. 
    • If you are open to working in one of a number of occupations, fields, or industries; are networking or using direct canvassing approach; and cannot create a targeted resume for each business you apply to, you may want to create several versions of an industry-specific resume.  These will emphasize the skills and experience that are most relevant to each occupation or field you are pursuing.  For example, you might create a version focused on retail or customer service positions, another version aimed at construction or manufacturing jobs, and a third version focused on positions within a security firm.
  3. To create persuasive and powerful items or bullet points for your resume, remember this formula:

Action Verbs + Details + Results = Impressive Resumes

  • Begin each bullet point with an action verb (scroll down for a list of action verbs organized by functional area).  Avoid starting a bullet point with the words "Responsible for" and jump right to the verb that tells the resume reader what you did.
  • Next, add relevant details that show a clearer picture of what you did.
  • Then briefly describe what you achieved.  The easiest way to identify a result is to ask yourself:  "What was the reason for performing the task?  What would have happened if the task had not been performed?"  In some cases you might be able to describe a numerical impact—dollars, or improving performance by a specific percentage, saving or earning—but more likely you'll need to describe the result in more general terms.

Review these examples for ideas.

Average Bullet Point

(Action Verb)

           

Good Bullet Point

(Action Verb)

           

Excellent Bullet Point

(Action Verb)

Answered customer phone calls

 

Answered an average of 25 customer calls per day. Answered questions, resolved problems, and recommended additional products or services they might find useful.

  Answered an average of 25 customer calls per day. Answered questions, resolved problems, and recommended additional products or services they might find useful. Increased customer satisfaction and loyalty, as well as follow-on purchases. 

Drove a forklift truck

 

Drove a forklift truck, resupplied 12 work stations with all parts and materials needed to operate an assembly line.

  Drove a forklift truck, resupplied 12 work stations with all parts and materials needed to operate an assembly line. Maintained an accident-free driving record for more than 3 years, and ensured the assembly line never shut down due to a shortage of parts.

Maintained delivery trucks

 

Performed comprehensive maintenance on 6 delivery trucks that averaged 14 hours of use per day and 30,000 miles per year.

 

Performed comprehensive maintenance on 6 delivery trucks that averaged 14 hours of use per day and 30,000 miles per year. Achieved a 98% availability rate and prevented thousands of dollars of unscheduled repair.

Developed and implemented new employee training program

 

Developed and implemented a training program for over 200 new employees on safety procedures and the correct use of tools and equipment.

 

Developed and implemented a training program for over 200 new employees on safety procedures and the correct use of tools and equipment, resulting in a sharp decrease in lost-time accidents, workers compensation claims, and employee turnover.

Processed invoices  

Processed over 30 invoices per day quickly and accurately.

 

Processed over 30 invoices per day quickly and accurately, reducing average billing-to-payment cycle from 6 weeks to 3 weeks.

 

Action Verbs to Start Your Bullets