From the 2/12/09 NAFE E-Newsletter, some really great tips to gain a competitive edge in today’s job market.:

(Provided by Geraldine Garner, a former associate dean in Northwestern University’s School of Engineering, and President of STCS, Inc.)

Have you sent out lots of resumes, with minimal results? Your resume might not be representing you effectively to potential employers. Here are five tips for doing that.

1. Quantify the impact of work whenever possible. Never exaggerate qualifications but do put them in context. If your project goal was to increase revenue, state how you achieved the goal. A potential statement might be: “Reconfigured product line to increase market share by over 15%.” Phrases such as “approximately,” “ranging from…,” and “estimated decrease/increase of x%” keep data honest, when exact numbers aren’t available.

2. Give examples of how skill sets have been utilized on the job. Don’t assume people “know” your skill set because of your job title. Show how you use a skill on the job. You might have project management certification but it’s important to describe how you use these skills. A potential statement might be: “Scoped, scheduled and budgeted 6 construction projects ranging in value from $500,000 to $10M. All completed on time and within budget.”

3. Remove words like “assist” and “help.” Replace them with descriptions of precisely how you assist or help. A potential statement might be: “Researched, recommended and implemented supply chain improvements for the Vice President of Manufacturing.”

4. Select nouns and verbs carefully but write concise and impactful statements. Today, employers search resume database for qualified candidates. Nouns and verbs need to be accurately aligned with job descriptions and your experience. Also, edit long sentences (more than 16 words) to short clear statements that convey as much information as possible. Make sure they’re still understandable to both professional colleagues and reviewers outside your profession.

5. When applying online, follow all directions. Many job applicants are disqualified because they e-mailed resumes directly, instead of submitting them online or they left off requested information, without explanation. Show that you can follow directions.