NPC_resumeIn an economy where job seekers significantly out-number positions, distinguishing your credentials is essential. How can you stand out from the crowd?

According to online résumé service, job recruiters wade through thousands of profiles and résumés with a ruthless eye for clarity and concrete information.

TheLadders literally tracked the eye movements of 30 professional recruiters performing job candidate screenings over 10 weeks, using a scientific technique to analyze how long and on what area they focused on their computer screens. The study revealed that recruiters spend an average of only 6 seconds per individual résumé!

Eye-tracking analysis showed that recruiters spent 80 percent of their time on a few key pieces of information: name, current job title/company, previous job title/company, previous position start and end dates, current position start and end dates and education.

So how do you make the most of your résumé and online profile? The first step is self-reflection. What do you really want to do? What are you good at? Answer-ing these questions will drive your job search and strengthen your résumé.

Think of three skills an employer for whom you would like to work for would value. Do you have experience in a particular field, or do you already have educational credentials? Write down what you can do well.

Now cut any vague or clichéd words. Financial advice site recommends avoiding overusing “I” and “me” in your professional material. Likewise, over-charged words like “love,” “passionate,” or “driven” can strike a too-personal tone.

Also, words like “experienced” or “responsible,” can be so vague that they signify nothing. “Hard-working,” “team player,” “detail-oriented,” or “results-oriented” are too abstract. “Don’t try to impress by claiming things that employers take for granted in good recruits such as ‘hard worker’ or ‘punctual,’” says John Lees, author of the book Knockout CV.

“Instead of using weightless words, link your skills to specific results that demonstrate your competence,” recommends networking site 

Job site advises dumping phrases like “I am seeking a job/career/position,” “strong work ethic,” “written communication skills,” “hit bench-marks,” and “references available upon request.”

John Spadaccini of NPC’s Career Services office recommends using action words when describing accomplishments on your résumé. Words such as “advised,” “facilitated,” and “implemented” are good examples. “You can find a great list of action words at,” said Spadaccini.

“Northland Pioneer College frequently offers many career workshops to help people create résumés, cover letters and LinkedIn profiles; hone interview skills; dress for success; and create an elevator pitch. These are all skills you’ll need to land your dream job,” added Spadaccini. Find a current list of NPC workshops at

NPC’s John Spadaccini is available for individualized career coaching sessions for students, alumni and com-munity members. Call (800) 266-7845, ext. 6246 to schedule an appointment.

– Naomi Sheehan/NPC