Characteristics of a Great Resume

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Characteristics of a Great Resume


A resume is a promotional tool and represents YOUR PERSONAL BRAND. It is a tool to help “sell” you to a potential employer. When constructing your resume you must consider what the potential recruiter is looking for and what will make your resume stand out especially when he/she may be screening hundreds of resumes daily. It’s easy to miss the basics, but here are some of the key components of a good resume:

  1. An engaging executive summary or as I like to put it a “Branding Statement”

The executive summary/branding statement starts your resume. Forget about all these fancy introductory labels. The executive summary contains 4-6 sentences that encapsulates what you bring to the table. Think about Twitter – state something powerful in 140 characters or less ( except not quite that short). It includes a blend of your key skills, experience, and accomplishments. It’s a branding statement because it focuses on what you, as a candidate, can offer the potential employer. For cricket fans, it’s like hitting that wicket and getting an out with your first bowl; or the wow factor when you see Lebron James perform a slam dunk. Highlighting your soft skills here gives your resume a key aspect of your humanity and personality.

  1. It demonstrates not only work experience but your key accomplishments.

Gone are the days when you simply list all your previous jobs with a summary of your duties. Employers don’t just want to know your titles and what you did, but they want to know what you can do, what you have accomplished and how you can positively impact their organization. Some key accomplishments should include for instance contracts/bids won, number of customers served, size of teams you’ve lead, process improvement percentages and so on.

  1. It looks good, reads well and has a strong visual design.

Great resumes tell a story and part of telling a great story means it must have great cinematography (well it must look good on paper). Keep it professional! Use Arial or Times Roman font no larger than 12pt; 14pt to 16 pt for headings and subheadings. The professionalism must ring through in every detail of your resume. Smooth, short and well-written sentences tend to demonstrate qualities effectively. Use this style of writing to show your strong communication skill, critical thinking ability and noteworthy intelligence. 

  1. Use of social media links

Really?? You might be saying but why is this necessary at all. For 21st century resumes, potential recruiters will “google” their candidates so that they can get a better idea of who they are hiring. Therefore it is important that your social media profiles showcase things you wouldn’t mind them seeing. For those candidates who are in marketing, HR, technical or academia placing a link to your Linkedin page, URL or blog will show your efforts at professional development and learning.

  1. The finish line, close and hook.

In every resume there are some achievements that do not fit in the traditional sections but will definitely give you a competitive advantage if it is highlighted. Major awards, volunteer work, recognition, achievements and projects worked on can be placed here. A client of mine once put a link on his resume to a project he spearheaded that was highlighted in the local newspaper. The value of the project was in the millions and this of course would have showcased his competency on a number of levels – project management skills, leadership and technical capabilities.

All GREAT resumes should ring through with a simple message “You need to hire me!” It should pique the potential interviewer’s interest enough so that they pick up the phone to call you.  Remember this is your first opportunity to help create a lasting impression.


Debbie-Ann Jollie is a Marketing Strategist and the principal Director of HashSpace Limited. She is a certified trainer with over 15 years’ experience in marketing management both in public and private organizations as well as through consulting.



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