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10 Tips for Standout Résumés

  • Rodney Apple
May/June 2017

Your résumé is critical to securing more interviews and landing a job. To maximize its effectiveness, design your résumé to help employers and recruiters understand your skills, experience, and accomplishments.

  1. Have an easy-to-scan format. A reverse-chronological order résumé lends the most credibility. Make sure all information and dates are accurate and updated to reflect your most recent position. For the date format, include the month and the year. Stay on point, and condense the résumé where possible. It should be no more than two pages and at least 10-point type. Use a sans-serif font, as these are proven to be the most readable. Leave ample white space and margins to help make your résumé easier to scan and digest. Be sure to bold and capitalize all headings—Name, Summary, Experience, and Education—but keep the bolding of supporting text to a minimum. Finally, use short, action-oriented bullet points as opposed to long, detail-infested paragraphs.
  2. Emphasize the most significant information. Studies show that people take less than 10 seconds to scan a résumé and determine their interest levels. Make sure your most recent and applicable work experience is highlighted. Instead of an objective statement at the top, consider listing a brief summary of your supply chain management skills and subject matter expertise directly underneath your contact information. Seeing something of interest there helps ensure people will read on. Also, for each position, determine the most important qualifications, and tailor your résumé to prioritize that experience. Often, this can be achieved by simply reordering bullet points. Also, pay attention to the keywords used in each job description, and incorporate them into your résumé, where applicable.
  3. Integrate accomplishments with job responsibilities. A common mistake is to only list job duties and responsibilities under the Experience section of a résumé. It’s much more important to showcase your accomplishments, as potential employers want to see the value you bring to a company. Use action verbs, such as optimized, transformed, integrated, and directed.
  4. Quantify your accomplishments with numbers and data. Supply chain management professionals typically are tasked with managing key performance indicators and other metrics around cost, productivity, safety, quality, and service. Be sure to keep track of this data throughout your career. It can provide you with pertinent résumé records and facts.
  5. Be transparent. You don’t want your résumé dismissed because of too many unanswered questions. If you have gaps in your employment history, list what you were doing of value during that time— especially if it pertains to updating work skills, education, or certifications. If you were taking time off to raise children or help care for aging parents, it’s best to provide a brief explanation.
  6. Keep it professional. Do not list hobbies, marital status, physical descriptors, ethnicity, religion, or political affiliation.
  7. Promote education and certifications. If you have an advanced degree or professional certification, list these toward the top of your résumé. 
  8. Detail size, scope, and complexity. Every business and supply chain is unique. Recruiters want to understand the types of companies you’ve worked for and the networks or operations you’ve managed or supported. You don’t need to go too deep, but provide some context and career progression. 
  9. Include contact information and connect your online presence. Display your mobile phone number, a personal (not work) e-mail address, and your home address with your name at the top of the résumé. Many employers use parsing technology that electronically scans for candidates who live within a certain radius of a zip code. Put URLs for any business-related social media networks beneath your contact information.
  10. Omit the obvious. “References available” is antiquated. Employers assume you will provide references when asked.

Rodney Apple is founder and president of SCM Talent Group, a supply chain recruiting and executive search firm. He has served as the APICS career coach since 2014 and routinely contributes supply chain career development content for members. Apple may be contacted at rapple@scmtalent.com.

To comment on this article, send a message to feedback@apics.org.

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