“Writing a business resume is not a time to parade your vocabulary. It is all about the basics: ‘ABC’ and ‘Show & Tell.’ Be accurate, brief and clear, and don’t just tell us, for example, that you are organized and detail-oriented. Show us that in a one-page resume that’s well-structured and error-free!”
That is the advice of Bob Ellis, an adjunct professor at Stevenson University, whose class in Business and Professional Communication provides major insights to the art of resume building. His advice on creating standout resumes is to avoid following a template. Be distinctive. Students should understand that their brand distinguishes them from all the other applicants. Keep it up-to-date.
According to Ellis, most employers take 5-10 seconds to review a resume, so the use of color and bullet points helps guide the reader to seeing what is important on the resume. Use the same terminology in the resume and cover letter that appears in the job’s description. This will make it clear that applicants have read the ad and “speak the language of that employer.” Ellis also strongly recommends working with on-campus resources, such as Career Services or faculty, to get a variety of suggestions.
Ellis believes that “creating a resume is not how you get the job, it is how you get the interview. Strong communication skills will showcase your abilities and help win the job.” Applicants should not question whether they are good enough for the job opening; they should make sure the company is good enough for them.
For 10 years at Stevenson, Ellis has taught courses in Public Speaking, Professional Communication and Small Group Communication. While he enjoyed his 40-year career as a professional business communicator, writer/editor and consultant for companies nationwide, teaching college students has always been one of his career goals.