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How Does Your Resume Rate?

Recently I’ve been on the hunt for the perfect toaster. This comes after the demise of two toasters within one year. My exasperating hunt for the ultimate toaster is not unlike the impatient hiring manager’s search for a great candidate.

I don’t ask much of a toaster, only this: > It toasts.

> It last longer than 6 months – ideally a few years.

> It is flexible – it can toast bread slices and bagels.

> I’d like it to blend into my kitchen décor.

> A glass side to view the degree of toasting would be real selling point and I’d pay extra for that.

This is not unlike a manager searching for a new hire. All the manager wants is this:

> Someone who can perform the job functions.

> An employee who will stick around for a while – job hoppers need not apply.

> A flexible and adaptable individual.

> A team player who gets along with others.

> Extra skills and education are a plus. Salary corresponds with the candidate’s skills and experience.

In my toaster quest, I’ve examined reports of performance testing of toasters. In the end it comes down to my five-point criteria list. For an employer it is the same. When you assess your resume, how does it rate? Does your resume show how you meet these five points? If not, here are a few tips to improve your rating.


  • Share an overview of your ability in your resume profile.

  • Include a core competencies section to showcase your top job skills.

  • If technical skills are required for the job, add a computer skills section to your resume.

  • Back-up those skills notes with examples of accomplishments in the experience section.


  • A great indicator that you are a reliable long-term hire is your past work history. Display years only with your history to show continuity if you have a short-term gap in employment.

  • If you have held multiple short-term jobs, consider emphasizing your years in the industry in your profile: “Twelve years in the insurance industry.”

  • If you have worked as a freelancer or consultant and have a few gaps between gigs, place that history under one heading, such as: “Consultant (2006 – Present)” and beneath it feature each project as a bullet.

  • You can also show consistency by listing long-term volunteer roles in a Community Service section at the end of your resume: “Food Bank Volunteer (2002 – 2012).”


  • Displaying your relevant technical skills is an indicator of your ability to adapt to new technologies.

  • If you assumed a secondary role, that demonstrates flexibility.

Team Player

  • Don’t forget to feature projects, even if you were not the leader it shows you can work on a team.

  • If you were selected for a corporate task force or committee, add that to your experience.

  • Mention volunteer work that involved working on a committee or a team.

  • Add your professional organizations.

Unique Value

  • Identify how you stand out from the average candidate, including awards, high-profile accounts, patients, large-scale projects, professional certifications, advanced degrees, languages, technical abilities, expertise in certain markets, and publications.

  • In addition to including those marquis items in their appropriate resume category, include top value in your profile section.

Create a resume that demonstrates why you are an ideal candidate. From top to bottom prove your ability to perform the job, reliability, flexibility, compatibility, and desirability. The above are general suggestions. Each candidate is unique. If you have questions about how to promote yourself as the ideal candidate, contact me. I would be happy to help.

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