Create a Killer Resume and Cover Letter

How to Write a Killer Resume

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The golden rule is that there are no golden rules.” – George Bernard Shaw

Did you know that reputable companies can receive 100 – 200 resumes for each position? Only imagine the army of nearly identical candidates, every second one of them meeting the basic qualification requirements.

Recruiters, however, claim that they do not use random choice when they pick out 2 or 3 submissions and announce their authors as the best potential candidates. Is it possible that they selflessly dig through all the resumes, looking for a real gem? Yes, it is. The problem is they spend 60-90 seconds on scanning and evaluating every single resume. How on earth can your resume win their attention within this time limit?

The golden rule to writing a killer resume is to know when and how you can break the golden rules.

Paradoxically, when you follow all the rules, you actually reduce your chances of success.

The problem with these hundreds of identical resumes is that all of them look alike, like clones. Moreover, some of them are almost as annoying as spam messages, which have miraculously gotten through a spam filter. How to observe the rules of business etiquette and make your resume to stand out from the crowd at the same time? Here is a surprising, but effective action plan:

1)    Learn the standard format recommendations for resume writing (5 Steps to a Great Resume)

2)    Write your resume and a cover letter following these recommendations.

3)    Look at your resume. This is exactly how the resumes of the rest of the candidates will look.

4)    Act like an expressionist artist. See which of the rules can be broken. Add a few strokes, which will make your resume special (include unique personal details, such as hobbies or cultural experiences, which will help you sound humanly  unique, for example).

Yes, everyone tells you not to include any irrelevant information. Including personal information is believed to be one of the common mistakes in resume writing (7 Fatal Resume Errors).

However, the line between relevance and irrelevance is rather blurred. Moreover, your unique resume can show your ability to “think outside the box”, which is highly appreciated by modern head-hunters. Yes, recruiters emphasize the importance of standard resume format. But it is not exactly what they truly want to see in your resumes.

By making your resume original, you demonstrate your creativity and ability to use non-standard approaches in standard situations. It can be much more effective, than mentioning your creativity on the list of your professional qualities.

The platinum rule to writing an original resume is to know when to stop.

The reverse side of the coin is going too far with creativity. The line between creativity and unnecessary eccentricity is blurred too. It is only your common sense that will help you understand when it is better to stop.

One of my friends wrote a resume as a tragedy in 3 acts, applying for a position of a sales manager. She did manage to grab the recruiter’s attention and received a polite response “Thank you for that!” However, she did not get the desired invitation to an interview. Perhaps, the recruiter thought it was only a joke and did not take her resume seriously.

When demonstrating your creativity and uniqueness, try not to knock yourself out. Here are some more examples of cases when the candidates should have better stopped:

1)    Making sarcastic remarks about personal weaknesses.

2)    Including mother’s name in the list of professional references (Job Search Marketing Toolkit – References).

3)    Being too sincere about why s/he decided to apply for this or that position (such as not having enough experience to apply for a better one).

4)    Including inappropriate similes, such as a marketer who promised to behave like a sponge, absorbing the customers’ money.

So, do not hesitate to break some of the golden rules to show your creativity, but do not cross the line to the irritating idiosyncrasy.

Book Corner – [easyazon_link asin=”0814417620″ locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”caree07-20″ add_to_cart=”default” cloaking=”default” localization=”default” popups=”default”]Unbeatable Resumes: America’s Top Recruiter Reveals What REALLY Gets You Hired[/easyazon_link]

Author – Jack Milgram: “I have been interested in writing since I made the acquaintance of pen and paper. As soon as I learned how to write words, I started forming them into sentences. And do you know what my first sentence said? “I love my words”. Later I started writing, but often left unfinished, many of my essays at school, as well as my researches at college, where I studied psychology and education. I started freelance writing when I was a student. I currently work for (, my frequent posts go live on their Twitter ( Be sure to check out my writing tips and tricks! Good luck with your resume!

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Good luck in your search,


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