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Resume Tips and Tricks

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Your resume is the most important document you’ll submit in your job search. It’s your first opportunity to present yourself to a hiring manager. Keep in mind that every detail counts.  In this post we’ll cover tips and tricks to help in the process.  


What do hiring managers actually want? 

Hiring managers don’t want to read a list of your job duties. They want concrete examples of your accomplishments in previous positions that show how you can make a difference in this new position.

They are looking for the answer to these three main questions:

1. Can you do the job? 

    • Make sure to describe what you would bring to the role. Highlight your accomplishments in previous positions, emphasize specific skills, and note any certifications you earned. 
    • Use real data examples, try to skip tired terms like goal-oriented and results-driven. 
      • How much money did you save the organization? 
      • How many employees did you manage? 
      • Include numbers when you can.

2. Will you do the job?

    • Give details on how you go the extra mile; regularly meeting tough deadlines, handling a high volume of projects, or tackling tasks outside your job description? 

3. Will you be a good fit?

    • Working well with others is a must for any role today. You should provide examples of how you have partnered with colleagues or individuals in other departments to meet an objective. 
    • Hiring managers seek candidates who can adapt quickly to new situations. You should describe how you responded to a major change at work or dealt with the unpredictable aspects of the job. 
    • Companies seek individuals with initiative who can contribute immediately. Explain how you took action when you saw an issue that needed fixing.

There are plenty of ways to help your resume stand out. The key is to keep the focus on your experience and accomplishments.  Try not to go overboard with trying to be different, instead put more effort into making sure your resume is free of grammatical, formatting, and spelling mistakes. Nothing can derail your candidacy faster than a hard-to-read and poorly formatted resume. 

Using strong words helps a hiring manager quickly see what the focus of your job duties was and what impact you had at your company. You should choose your words carefully and avoid overstating your duties or trying too hard to be creative.

Useful action verbs

Communication Leadership/Initiative Creative Thinking Teamwork
Address Anticipate Amend Assist
Advise Amplify Conceptualize Collaborate
Advocate Champion Craft Coordinate
Consult Coach Customize Contribute
Counsel Direct Design Cultivate
Edit Establish Develop Elevate
Influence Facilitate Envision Embrace
Introduce Implement Exhibit Encourage
Mediate Improve Formulate Enlist
Moderate Launch Illustrate Gather
Publish Manage Originate Guide
Report Navigate Pioneer Participate
Synthesize Optimize Sculpt Partner
Strengthen Shape Resolve
Supervise Strategize Support


Writing your resume from scratch, while using action verbs, can be difficult.  Below are some job skills with examples that may be more helpful:

Communication: writes clearly and concisely, speaks effectively, listens attentively, openly expresses ideas, negotiates/resolves differences, leads group discussions, provides feedback, persuades others, provides well-thought-out solutions, gathers appropriate information, confidently speaks in public

Interpersonal skills: works well with others, sensitive, supportive, motivates others, shares credit, counsels, cooperates, delegates effectively, represents others, understands feelings, self-confident, accepts responsibility

Research and planning: forecasts/predicts, creates ideas, identifies problems, meets goals, identifies resources, gathers information, solves problems, defines needs, analyzes issues, develops strategies, assesses situations

Organizational skills: handles details, coordinates tasks, punctual, manages projects effectively, meets deadlines, sets goals, keeps control over budget, plans and arranges activities

Management skills: leads groups, teaches/trains/instructs/facilitates, counsels/coaches, manages conflict, delegates responsibility, makes decisions, directs others, implements decisions, enforces policies, takes charge

Next, what about resume mistakes? There are many ways to make mistakes when it comes to your resume. Avoid these common mistakes:

  • Grammatical and spelling errors
  • Inconsistent formatting
  • Inconsistent punctuation and capitalization (look at your bullets, dashes, and spaces)
  • Outdated contact information

As for formatting, keep it simple and clean. These fonts tend to work well in a resume format:

  • Arial
  • Calibri 
  • Century Old Style
  • Garamond
  • Georgia
  • Times New Roman


Best practices and how often to pay attention to your resume 

Resume best practices and norms change quickly, so it’s a good idea to do your research before you update your resume. For example, the objectives section is now considered unnecessary and outdated, so you shouldn’t include one. Make sure your resume matches your cover letter in terms of formatting. It can be helpful to send your resume around to friends or family to get fresh eyes on it. 

A strong resume can help you stand out from the crowd, but a weak resume can remove you from the running, so you want to do all you can to make sure your resume is the best it can be.

When writing your resume it is best to keep it short and to the point. The general rule is no more than a couple of pages unless you have a very good reason for it to be longer, like an extensive career or many highly applicable work experiences. 

Your social profiles can be a powerful tool to supplement your experience and position as an expert in your field, but only if they are leveraged correctly.  If your social profiles are not professionally applicable, do not list them on your resume, and make sure they are set to private.


In closing 

Think of your resume as your foot in the door. Do what you can to make a good first impression, so you get invited to the interview and land your dream job.