Resume-writing rules to break — and ones you should not

King County Career Fair set for March 5 in Bellevue.

Your objective: to write a banging resume.

Through a quick Google search, you will discover that there are many new — and tried and true — ways to produce a killer resume. Here are some contemporary and good old-fashioned resume-writing tips to solidify your status as a superb candidate:

Delete your objective

White out that outdated “objective statement” you’ve kept at the top of your resume for years. Instead, add a “performance summary” to put a modern spin on an outdated resume feature, according to Fast Company.

An “objective” signifies what a job candidate wants out of their career, which won’t do much help the job seeker. By replacing your objective statement with a “performance summary,” you are instead letting the hiring personnel know what you can do or what you’ve already done, according to Fast Company. Under this heading you can highlight your abilities in relation to the job you are applying for, using words and phrases listed in the job posting.

Tell a story

Are you a results-oriented professional or a motivated self-starter? If you are, don’t include descriptions like that on your resume, unless you want to sound like every other job seeker, according to Forbes’ “Ten Resume-Writing Rules You’re Allowed To Break Now.”

This type of “robot language” diminishes candidates, the article continues. Ditch the lackluster jargon and humanize your resume by telling a story in your resume. Tell the story of how you met or exceeded your goals, or what makes you a team player.

5 commandments of resume-writing

While resume-writing is a multi-million-dollar industry and many companies may try to lure job seekers with some sort of a secret formula, writing an effective resume is not a complicated process, according to Matt Youngquist, founder of Career Horizons in Bellevue, in his blog post, “5 Steps to a ‘Very Good’ Resume.”

He noted there are definitely times when hiring somebody to write your resume is a smart idea, just like you might hire somebody to fix your plumbing or do your taxes. “But be wary of firms that make the process sound more mystical or complicated than it really is,” said Youngquist, a recognized expert in the field of career coaching, job hunting and professional employment counseling. “Ultimately, I maintain that there are only five key guidelines that a resume needs to pass in order to be highly effective.”

Those tips are:

1. Your resume needs to look good.

2. Your resume needs to be error-free.

3. Your resume needs to have a clear focus.

4. Your resume needs to include the right buzzwords.

5. Your resume needs to showcase your top accomplishments.

Ultimately, Youngquist said that most resume decisions come down to your own preference in terms of what you choose to share about yourself. But if you make sure you don’t violate the aforesaid “five commandments,” your resume will be in decent shape.

“Personally, I’d say that I come across a truly show-stopping ‘great’ resume about as often as I come across a ‘great’ website that stands out from the crowd and takes my breath away. Not very often,” Youngquist said. “So if I were you, I’d settle for putting together a ‘very good’ piece, with or without outside help, then concentrate your efforts on running a ‘great’ marketing and networking campaign for yourself — something that IS possible and that will tend to have a much better impact on your overall success rate, in the long run!”

King County Career Fair

Get your resume ready for the King County Career Fair, which will run from 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Monday, March 5 at the Embassy Suites Bellevue, 3225 158th Ave. SE. This free event will feature dozens of top employers from the region. For more information, visit eastsidecareerfair.com.

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