A good resume is not just a list of jobs and duties performed. In order to stand out from average performers a quality resume is marketing tool that will get the attention of anyone who reads it, employers and search consultants, that you can and have demonstrated skills and the inner drive to make a positive difference in an organization. So, how do you create a resume that demonstrates your skills and inner drive to get noticed in an environment of double digit unemployment? Let’s start with the basics.
1. Contact Information
Unless your situation dictates it (and it most likely never will), you should never volunteer personal information such as age, ethnicity, religion, marital status and physical attributes on your resume. Put your current phone and/or fax number(s), your street address, and your email address at the top of your resume, and and nothing else.
5000 E. Washington Avenue, Apt #5 St; Louis, MO, 63040
Tel: (314) 555-5555• Fax: (314) 555-05556 • Cellular: (314) 555-5557
Your objective statement should show employers that you know what you want why the role you want is justifiable. This doesn’t mean your objective should read, “Position that will lead to Director of Engineering role in 6 months” when you are now a Project Engineer. Rather, your objective should be targeted, professional, and free of personal pronouns (e.g., “I,” “me”) and wondrous euphemisms stating that you want to save the world from the scourge of disease. You might use a tagline instead of a complete sentence, as in the following example:
“Objective: Product development of micro-robotic surgical devices utilizing 10 years of Mechanical Design experience on surgical systems .” Of course, your objective can be longer or shorter than this example and that depends on your situation, your level of experience, and your desired position.
3. Summary of Skills
Use the summary statement to highlight, with bullet points, your most important achievements and abilities using numbers wherever possible. Include inner drive characteristics exemplify your successes; for example, “solved a major design problem,” “possess theoretical skills including thermodynamics and FEA,” “worked closely with manufacturing on product commercialization,” “developed a network of surgeons for new product ideas,” or “reduced cost to manufacture by 17% with no capital expenditures.” When you have an interview be ready with specific examples so you can elaborate on each of these statements. An example would read like this:
“Manufacturing Automation Engineer with a track record of increasing productivity on two automated disposables assembly lines by 46% over the last three years with no significant capital equipment changes to the assembly machinery.”
4. Professional Experience
Go back 15 years, if you have that much experience, and list every position you’ve held in reverse chronological order. Many candidates with substantial experience worry about discriminated against due to age, we suggest you tackle this issue head on. You can brag about your attendance record, indicate some examples of extra effort and unpaid overtime to help the company solve company problem. Also if you have more than 15 years of experience, you can add a section titled “Prior Relevant Experience” and just refer to your additional important jobs without mentioning specific dates.
If you’ve held multiple positions within the same company, list every position- you’ll want to show your career growth and progression. Finally, give a brief description of each position-include product details and show that you’ve achieved results and solved problems for the organization. For example:
2/93 – Present: Acme Medical Device Company, St. Louis, MO. Position: Sr Electronics Design Engineer 2003 to Present
Responsible for analog and digital circuit design for medical blood diagnostic instrument utilized by hospitals, medical laboratories and private physicians. Utilized PSpice for circuit design and supervised a designer of PCB’s and a technician for breadboard and prototype testing and analysis. Had direct interaction with packaging engineering for electro-mechanical design. Solved a difficult problem for a control system in conjunction with a mechanical engineer for the fluidics portion of the design. Responsible for design documentation in accordance with FDA requirements. Completed the design of two products (name the products) that went to market. Product number 1 went to market in 2006 and has generated sales of $X million, and product #2 went to market in 2008 and generated sales of $Y hundred thousand the first year and is projected to do $Z million this year.
The education area of your resume should include the institution’s name and location, along with your degree and the year you obtained it. Beyond that, you can include educational honors, seminars and certifications, and list achievements such as projects, awards, and grade-point averages. (A GPA of 3.0 or above is worth mentioning.)
6. Finishing Up
After you’ve finished the professional experience and education areas of your resume, you can add additional sections for additional pertinent information, such as professional honors, awards and affiliations. We suggest you only state “References available upon request.”.
You may also wish to include professional skills, such as languages spoken and proficiencies with computer software or hardware, in this section. Other possibilities include professional training, appointments and licenses. If some of your hobbies are directly related to your area of technical expertise we recommend you list those on your resume. We recommend you do not include general hobbies (e.g., “I like to read”) or list personal interests (e.g., “music, books, art”) anywhere on your resume.
7. More tips from our 35 years of experience in technical recruiting
We have attached a list. Approach each one from the viewpoint of a search consultant: How can this past accomplishment benefit a potential employer? Please keep in mind that their first page of a resume gets read 80% of the time and the second page only 20% so you must get the attention of the reader on page 1. The utilization of bullet points rather than rambling paragraphs is easiest for the reader to work with. Use as many numbers as possible to describe your accomplishments. Avoid “wondrous euphemisms” and passive words such as “involved in,” i.e., be specific with action words (created, designed, built, implemented, saved, etc.).
For Product Development:
- How many products have you developed that have gone to market and generated a profit for the company?
a. Were you the principle developer or a team member
b. Detail your contribution
c. Detail patents that have your name on them
- What are the technical tools you use to facilitate your design work
- Have you made contributions to the company outside of the duties in your description (provide details)
- What have you done to increase productivity?
- What have you done to reduce the cost to manufacture?
- What new manufacturing methods and processes have you researched, discovered, created, etc to improve throughput and product quality?
- What kinds of equipment, machinery, systems and processes have you installed and/or validated?
For Technical Marketing:
- How many products have you introduced into your company’s stage-gate process?
- What new products, or product line enhancements have you implemented? a. How many of each and what was the benefit to the company?
- What kinds of marketing strategies have you developed and introduced to the company that increase sales and market penetration?
Some issues to consider in addition to the above that may fit your experience
- Increased revenues
- Cost reductions and efficiency improvements 3. Record for completing projects on schedule 4. Improved customer satisfaction
- Increased sales
- Improved workplace safety
- Cost saving or quality improvements through purchased products/services
- New products/expanded lines of current products
- Dashboard metrics for project visibility and control
- Increased productivity
- Successful advertising campaign or other marketing strategy ideas
- Record for completing projects at or below budget