Tips for writing an effective resume


Your resume is your “product brochure.”  As in the best brochures, it must:


•  Drive home your key messaging points quickly, clearly and concisely

•  Place the most compelling information in the highest priority positions, for example within all your bullet lists

•  Be graphically pleasing, utilizing white space judiciously.  


Below is an annotated resume as an example.



[For most people, keep the resume to no more than 2 or 3 pages.  Highly technical CVs are an exception – see below.]


[Use if you are entering or reentering the job market, career changing, or targeting a specific or specialized opportunity.]

[Establish your positioning “hook” with the Summary: the 3 or 4 accomplishments or qualities a reader should come away with if they remember nothing else. Note that this messaging should be reflected in all the ways you present yourself, from cover emails through interviews. Bulletizing achievements sends a message of itself: that your focus is on delivering outstanding results. ] 


[What are the 3 or 4 messaging points someone should know about you if they know nothing else?  Start your achievement orientation here, and carry it through into the body of your resume (under Experience).  Your Summary is also the only section that offers the ability for you to make accomplishment statements that are common across multiple jobs over the course of your career.  You can also raise to the Summary any especially impressive individual achievements from specific jobs, if you think they are essential to defining what you bring to the table on the job.]

  • 25+ years’ success in retainer-based executive search for high tech with clients such as Microsoft, Facebook, iRobot and Copyright Clearance Center, among a great many others
  • Preferred Vendor at one of the largest high tech companies in the world conducting searches for the top 1% of the company. Hires include 3 of a small number of Distinguished Engineers, including one divisional CTO and numerous other senior hires, 4 of whom have enhanced the company’s diversity profile
  • Search partner for networking company, helping to build the executive team from COO/President and VP’s through Directors in Engineering, Marketing and Services, helping them grow from pre-IPO $60M to public $150M. Helped build executive team of leading messaging company during growth from $5M to $25M.
  • Expert in Best Practices of executive search: sourcing strategies & trends, search campaign strategies & tactics, interview strategies, candidate assessment & referencing, search process management & monitoring, coaching/training interview teams, consultative & value selling, negotiation & closing

[This last SUMMARY bullet reviews key skill sets. This can also be put in an attractive table between the SUMMARY and EXPERIENCE sections to optimize your resume for internet keyword searches.]


1980-Pres. EGS Elite, Founder/Executive Search Consultant

[Describe responsibilities concisely and with strong, active verbs.]

Founded and currently run a company offering retainer-based executive search for high technology companies.

[Carry through accomplishment orientation, supporting them when you can with quantifiable proof points tied to strategic business outcomes, e.g. revenue increases, profitability / efficiency, market position / penetration / recognition, etc. Again, this applies to all the ways you present yourself. In the body of your resume, more than 5 accomplishments per job will tend to get lost on the reader.]

  • Found a candidate offered the job for over 90% of retainer searches
  • Retained by a group within one leading high tech company’s CTO Office that focuses on the company’s top 1 1/2% technical openings, and placed for the company 3 out of its small number of Distinguished Engineers, who are known as technical leaders and innovators with global influence
  • Clients have included Microsoft, Facebook, iRobot, Copyright Clearance Center, BBN, Tektronix, Mathsoft and a host of early-stage companies among many others
  • Developed and ran highly rated interview/career search workshops for Harvard – Radcliffe College and other institutions and companies
  • In a consulting capacity, built from ground up the recruitment Best Practices and Policies for $10M software company, running company-wide recruitment and interview training, and consulting directly on candidate assessment for the high-level searches

1979-1980 Positions, Inc./ PSC – Recruiter/Recruitment Manager

Hired to establish new area of contingency placement in technical sales and marketing.

  • Named Personnel Consultant of the year first full year
  • Established a Medical/Scientific client practice in an office not accustomed to specialization, and developed, won as clients and managed Tektronix, Humphrey Instruments, Interpretive Data Systems, Shared Medical Systems and Nova Biomedical among others, as client companies
  • At spin-off PSC, as Manager with hiring, training and supervisory responsibilities, built high tech recruitment practice generating 80% of 7-person company’s total revenue

1977-1979 Weston Youth Commission – Director

Created from ground up and ran a responsive youth center program focusing on workshops, responsibility-building activities and groups, outreach to troubled youth and counseling. Responsibilities included establishing the physical premises, creating and running a variety of interpersonal groups, counseling, program planning and development, school liaison, public relations, fiscal planning and management; hiring, training and managing staff. Published regular column on youth and family issues in “Weston Town Crier.”

  • Program won approval for ongoing Town and State funding
  • A group of “WYC kids,” now adults, established a WYC Facebook page 30 years later, a tribute to the program’s appeal, reach and effectiveness

1974-1977 Access Resource Center – Counselor / Supervisor

[Stay concise, especially for earlier positions.]

Phone counseling, information and referral to wide client population.

  • In 6 months, promoted to Supervisor responsible for staff training and management, long-term planning and fund raising.


[Include any honors and extracurricular activities that reinforce messages of accomplishment and responsibility.]

B.A. in English, Tufts University, Cum Laude

Coordinator of Tufts Concert Committee. Intern City Reporter, “Akron Beacon Journal,” Ohio. Selected from Honors Seniors as tutor of Freshman Writing Seminar.

[The categories below can cover any skills, knowledge or citations not previously mentioned]

TECHNICAL SKILLS SUMMARY (for hands-on individual contributors, okay if goes after SUMMARY)

PROFESSIONAL TRAINING (could include training in any function such as sales, software applications, etc.)

AWARDS / PATENTS / PUBLICATIONS / KEYNOTE SPEECHES / CONFERENCES (especially for scientists and other technical professionals)


[The optional PERSONAL section offers a chance to paint a broader picture in very little space, and in such a way that reinforces messages of accomplishment and responsibility. Sometimes this more personal information can help you strike up a rapport with an interviewer more easily. If applicable, you can also include here information about green card, security clearance, etc.]

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