Three Steps to Power Up Your Resume

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By Donald Benenson

Donald Benenson, SPHR, owns DLB & Associates. He has over 30+ years of corporate HR experience at Fortune 500 and entrepreneurial companies. He can be reached at

“I’m calling this applicant immediately.”

That’s the response you’re after whenever your resume finds itself in the line of sight of a prospective employer. Getting this to happen typically requires job seekers to rethink how to write their resume so it truly showcases their abilities.

As an owner of a human resources consulting business, one of the things I do is to help job seekers write powerful resumes and guide them on job search and career transition strategies that work in today’s ultra-competitive job market.

Here are three way to power up your resume and job search.

Write to the ad…Put delicious bait on your hook! 

Read all employment ads and job posts with a focus on identifying the four to six “must haves” for the position. Don’t assume that these requirements are automatically placed at the beginning of the copy. Hey, sometimes the most delicious entrees at restaurants appear at the bottom of the menu!

When you submit your resume, sequence your entries so your qualifications for the most important requirements are the first statements that appear on your resume. Don’t get lazy with this activity, as doing so will sabotage your chances of having your resume reviewed. Put another way, if the fish you’re trying to catch doesn’t find your bait appealing, they will quickly move on to the next baited hook!

Don’t Play Cover Letter Selling 

Many of my clients “go for the kill” with their cover letters. They try to land the interview off them and typically include way too much information, oftentimes repeating entries on their resume.

An effective cover letter whets the appetite of the hiring manager. It makes them want to move to the next step, looking for more detailed information in your resume.

Also, avoid tooting your horn. A great cover letter is brief, engaging, and motivates the reader to classify you as a potentially viable candidate.

You Don’t Get Hired Based on Your To Do List 

80% of the resumes I review are boring and so poorly written that they are destined for the express train headed towards the trash bin.

When your entries read like your job description, or to do list, all the hiring manager learns about you is the stuff you do at work. Ordinary job seekers write about their job routines while extraordinary ones get hiring managers salivating about their accomplishments and achievements at previous employers. Subconsciously, the hiring manager is already envisioning this individual on the job and receiving the accolades from others about bringing such a talented individual into the firm. You can be a masterful interviewee, but if your resume doesn’t shout extraordinary candidate, you simply won’t get in the door.

Drafting a fantastic resume certainly takes more than what I’ve covered in this piece. However, these three actions will definitely generate what all job seekers want….call backs on their resume!

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