1. Length is relative: Your resume’s length depends on your experience and profession. If you’re a recent college graduate, one page will do. If you’re a seasoned executive, two or more pages are acceptable. Even though electronic resumes aren’t affected by length, some job boards impose word count limits for online postings.

2. Go “chronological”: This format lists your jobs from present to past. Hiring managers like this format, because it’s easier to understand your career progression. Avoid functional formats – skills and achievements at the top, employers at the end – because hiring managers will have trouble matching your achievements and skills with each employer.

3. Scrap the objective: The overworked objective: “Seeking a challenging position in a progressive organization” is your resume’s ticket to the trash bin. Hiring managers don’t care about what you want. When reviewing a resume, they’re tuning into Channel WIIFM: “What’s in it for me?” All they care about is how you can solve problems for their company.

4. Brand yourself: Replace the objective with a title, which reflects your professional brand. Examples: Benefits Administrator; Java Software Programmer; Not-For-Profit Executive; Retail Store Manager. Adjust these titles, depending on the position you’re seeking, only if your résumé’s content substantiates your ability to do the job.

5. Use keywords: Resumes posted online are read by scanning software, targeting specific keywords, to select or reject candidates. Your résumé must contain keywords specific to the job requirements as well as your profession and industry. The Complete Idiot’s Guide to the Perfect Resume, 5th Edition, has a great chapter on keywords.

6. Flaunt accomplishments: Accomplishments convey how well you did your job, i.e., with sales increases, cost savings, or productivity improvements. Include 4-5 accomplishments under each job. Quantify in tangible metrics, e.g., “Expanded $1 million territory by 25% ($250,000) annually.”

7. Describe employers: Write a business description under each employer. Doing so will convey clear information about companies which may be unfamiliar to hiring managers. This descriptor, which can be 1-2 sentences, should include the product or service offered, clients served, sales volume, and number of employees.

8. Customize: Avoid using an all-purpose resume. Customize your résumé for each position you apply for. Use the job description in the ad for clues about how your experience matches the position requirements then write the content accordingly. Include your most relevant experience and minimize other career history.

9. Deflect age discrimination: List the most recent 10-15 years of your experience (with dates) which is what interests hiring managers the most. Summarize or abbreviate prior experience, without listing the dates. If you received your college degree over 15 years ago, you can omit dates of graduation.

10. People – not resumes – get jobs: Career CrossXroads’s 9th Annual Sources of Hire Survey revealed that networking is the most effective strategy for landing employment: 51% of US job openings in 2009 were filled by internal transfers and promotions; 26.7% of external hires were filled by referrals. So, don’t just post your résumé and wait. Tap into your network to find an inside contact who can hand deliver your resume to hiring managers in companies where you want to work.

© 2010 Joellyn Wittenstein Schwerdlin, The Career Success Coach. All Rights Reserved. www.career-success-coach.com