How Valuable Is Your Resume?

Advice from Cheryl Palmer, M.Ed., CPRW, career coach at Call to Career, on how to increase the value of your resume.

What is your number-one tip for increasing your resume's worth?

The first is that people will read from top to bottom, so what's at the top needs to be eye-catching. This is why the professional summary is so important. It is a teaser, usually no more than four to six lines, that gives an overview of you as a candidate.

In it, you'll want to focus on what you can do for a potential employer. For instance, you'll want to talk about how much money you saved or revenue you generated for your current organization or how you streamlined processes.

Are there certain words or phrases that can add or detract from your resume's value?

You want keywords that appear in the job vacancy announcement to also appear in your resume. This is important because often resumes are scanned into a database before a recruiter looks at them. If these words don't appear, your resume won't float to the top, and you won't get an initial call.

Include a few keywords in a quick, bulleted list of core competencies following your professional summary. Then sprinkle them throughout your resume's job experience section.

What else will up your resume's value?

If you can show the prospective employer that you've made a significant contribution to your field or industry, that looks really good. For example, if you've been published or presented at professional association meetings, include those, because it will set you apart and shows you have put more into your career than the average person. This could translate to more power when it comes time to negotiate salary.

If you're looking for the next step in your association management career or seeking high-quality candidates to fill open positions, visit