Is your Resume an old Laundry List? Use KSA's to get noticed!

  • Is your Resume Good?
  • Is it really good?
  • How do you know?
  • Worried that your resume  is just a laundry list of skills?
Writing an effective resume is both an art and a science. Many job seekers choose "random" or "free" resume templates as if this was a one size fits all proposition.

To create an effective resume, first you must understand how resumes are read. Learn what employers aqnd recruiters are looking for when they do a preliminary scan of your resume. Knowing this information is the key to increasing the chances your resume is noticed! 

Your job is to make it easy for the reader to view you as a competitive candidate. Know the Knowledge, Skills, and Abilities (KSA’s) you have that are relevant to the position’s requirements.

Resume Guidelines

KNOW THE POSITION’S REQUIREMENTS! There are specific core skills, knowledge and experience associated with every job. Read job descriptions carefully and pay particular attention to them OR know the KSA’s relevant to the function of your career choice. Read Sharon Cohen's related post on KSA's for Business Careers. Incorporate similar (if not the same) verbiage into your resume as much as you can. This will help you have a more focused message. Employers review your resume for one thing and one thing only---to see what you have that is relevant to the requirements of the position. If you don’t tell them, they won’t know and more importantly, will not try to guess.

1. LAUNDRY ANYONE? Your resume should not be a "laundry list of responsibilities” from your previous positions. Doing this only tells ‘where you’ve been’ and not ‘where you’d like to go’. Employers only care about the specific KSA’s you have that are relevant to the job to which you’re applying. Bullet points should quantify information and demonstrate results where possible. Never write a resume in 1st person (I did this or I did that). Address the requirements of the position.

2. TO TELL OR NOT TO TELL. Do not try to tell everything you've ever done in every position you've held. If some responsibilities from previous positions are not terribly relevant to the job for which you're applying, do not mention them. At minimum, downplay the information by making it/them the last couple of bullet points. Too much irrelevant information detracts from the focused message you really want to deliver.

3. WHAT EMPLOYERS REALLY WANT TO KNOW. At the initial screening, the gatekeeper wants to know the KSA’s you have that are directly relevant to the position to which you are applying. Again, the job description tells you exactly what they are seeking and/or is an excellent indicator.

* NOTE-Individuals with limited to no relevant work experience OR who are career changers, consider adding one of the following categories: Relevant Coursework, MBA Projects, relevant Volunteer work or Leadership positions held in organizations.

4. HOW WILL YOU KNOW when you have written a competitive resume? It’s simple. 1) If the content addresses the employer’s needs derived from the job description. 2) When information is quantified when possible to help put the information in perspective and 3) You demonstrate you are a results oriented player!

5. NO PARAGRAPHS to describe your job responsibilities. Bullet points are a must and much easier to read.

6. WHEN IS MORE THAN ONE VERSION OF A RESUME NECESSARY? You must write more than one resume when the jobs to which you are applying are in different functions, require vastly different knowledge, skills, or abilities (e.g.: The content for an IT position will look and read very different from a Marketing Research position.)

7. NEW GRADUATE? NEW TO AN INDUSTRY? OR A CAREER CHANGER?- Your ‘Education’ should be at the top or your resume along with GPA, Relevant Courses, key words, list any awards or honors. Focus on transferrable skills – Skills you used in previous jobs, which could be transferred to a new industry. e.g.: customer relations management, logistics, financial reporting, analytical, quantitative etc.

Other great posts about the art of resume writing
Featured Guest Author: Dirk Duran Smith.
  • Associate Director Career Management Center at GSU's Robinson College of Business.
  • Certified Mediator & Professional Career Coach  
My Career Manager : © 2011 - All Rights Reserved -
Sharon B. Cohen, MA,CPRP, NCDA. Virtual Career Counselor and Career Transition Specialist.  


1 comment:

  1. Before reading this article I wanted to buy a resume at, but after reading your tips I can write it by yourself. Thanks for this great article.