Start Out Strong in a Resume

My friend Sadie asked for help with a resume (also known as a curriculum vitae), and I was happy to oblige.

Sadie’s resume began with her name, email and street addresses, and phone numbers. So far, so good.

Sadie’s first heading was Objective, which read:

Objective: A full-time sales or customer service position in horticulture.

It’s great that she is clear about what she wants. The problem is that hundreds of people in our geographical area are looking for such a position. How can Sadie stand out? How can she get her resume into the "strong candidate" pile?

She can start out strong by replacing her objective with a summary or professional profile, like this:

Summary: A degreed, experienced horticulturist with skills in plant identification, green roof plant specifications, sustainable practices, and cultural care, seeking a full-time sales or customer service position in horticulture.

That summary tells readers immediately that Sadie is educated and experienced in horticulture. She has specific skills and interests. Her resume is worth a close look.

Another approach would be to retain the objective she wrote but to add a separate professional profile. This profile would include the beginning of her summary (above). It might include another sentence like this one:

Experienced in green roof consultations, plant inventory, contract grows, telephone and in-person customer service, and retail and trade sales.

If you, like Sadie, are looking for a job, be sure your resume, CV, or data sheet starts out strong. Try to grab your reader’s attention in the first few lines. Sure, readers will scan one or two pages to find the highlights, but summarizing your qualifications at the top makes an instant positive impression.

Good luck!

Lynn
Syntax Training

 

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Lynn Gaertner-Johnston has helped thousands of employees and managers improve their business writing skills and confidence through her company, Syntax Training. In her corporate training career of more than 20 years, she has worked with executives, engineers, scientists, sales staff, and many other professionals, helping them get their messages across with clarity and tact. A gifted teacher, Lynn has led writing classes at more than 100 companies and organizations such as MasterCard, Microsoft, Boeing, Nintendo, REI, AARP, Ledcor, and Kaiser Permanente. Near her home in Seattle, Washington, she has taught managerial communications in the MBA programs of the University of Washington and UW Bothell. She has created a communications course, Business Writing That Builds Relationships, and provides the curriculum at no cost to college instructors. A recognized expert in business writing etiquette, Lynn has been quoted in "The Wall Street Journal," "The Atlantic," "Vanity Fair," and other media. Lynn sharpened her business writing skills at the University of Notre Dame, where she earned a master's degree in communication, and at Bradley University, with a bachelor's degree in English. She grew up in suburban Chicago, Illinois.

2 COMMENTS

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