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Your Résumé Is Your Calling Card

How to make it "speak" for you with the right voice

A laundry list of skills you've performed for the past 10 years won't show how competent or successful you were at doing them. This is where you spell it out. Define your skills and demonstrate how you used them effectively. Identify accomplishments showing quantitative, measurable outcomes that highlight your level of responsibility and input.


  • I coached and managed Team X for five years, which consistently garnered the company's highest customer service ratings and received the most requests for repeat customer assistance during that period.


  • My approach to fundraising resulted in a 25 percent increase in donations of $500 or more during the first year it was implemented.


  • My expertise in repairing transmission leaks resulted in fewer customer complaints and repeat visits for the same problems, plus increased business by word of mouth.

While brief, these examples should give you a sense of how to spotlight your skills and show your effectiveness, which may be the edge you need in your job search. And remember, employers aren't just looking for great skills. They're also looking for a great fit. Do your homework on the company you're applying to and, as much as possible, on the work unit that has the position you want. Every workplace has a unique culture and character. Your ability to show that you "get it," perhaps in your résumé's goal statement, can also move you closer to a new job.

Your tool kit is incomplete without résumés. They're your calling cards — your voice, your personality. They're speaking for you. Be sure they're saying the right things. Need more guidance and examples? Check AARP is here to help. Good luck and make sure to come back for my March column, where we'll discuss job interviews.

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