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In today's fast-paced job market, employers need to know in an instant what your brand is. Beyond that, they need to know what you have done that meets the requirements of the position in question.

If you have ever wondered why everyone needs a resume instead of an online form, it is because a detailed resume is used to weed out unqualified candidates. Personality is key too, and that cannot be communicated on a form.

There are so many resumes that land on an employer's desk with each job opening. It is often a very time-consuming job just to find a qualified person.

Hiring managers might even search job boards to find professionals with the skills, education and experience that match their requirements. Compound that with resumes pouring in by postal mail, email and fax. You can only imagine the volume of resumes they need to review.

If a resume is disorganized and unfocused, it will certainly go in the trash. The tragedy in this scenario is that many resumes are filled with good information, but the information is not presented in a compelling way. Or, there is so much to read in order to understand a candidate's value.

So how can someone make a good first impression to ensure his or her resume is selected from the pile? If a job seeker sends their resume via e-mail or by fax, or it is found on a job board, there is a good chance that their resume will not be accompanied by a cover letter.

If that were the case, they must make sure that their resume expresses their personality in addition to including their professional experience and accomplishments such as academic achievements, community service and awards.

To make a great first impression without a cover letter, a resume profile or summary at the beginning of the resume is critical. It will allow a person to market himself or herself in either a narrative or a bulleted list.

The profile or summary section will also allow a potential employer to size up a candidate quickly and identify what is unique about them and their career. It is also a way for them to get a good sense of the person's personality and communication skills.

If you include a summary or profile section on your resume, you should cover areas such as education, years of experience in certain types of positions or industries, community service, technical skills, notable awards and a brief overview of your attributes that relate to the type of position you are targeting.

For example, if you are seeking an accounting type of position, you will want to emphasize how detail oriented you are, as well as to mention your research, analytical and reporting skills.

If you are targeting a marketing position, you will want to show how creative and project-oriented you are, as well as to emphasize your understanding of product branding, demographics and the various marketing methods available, such as print, online and event marketing.

While a profile includes insights into what is unique about you, it is not a place for you to indicate your personal information. In doing so, you leave yourself open for discrimination. This information includes ethnicity, age, marital status, religious beliefs, and social security number.

Also, be careful about being too general. For example, do not use canned phrases such as highly organized, detail oriented and team player in the same sentence if you can avoid it. It is important that the employer knows that you have these skill sets, but presenting them together this way without specifics is not compelling.

You do not want to give the hiring manager the sense that you are just throwing phrases around without really considering how you are coming across on paper. They will think that you are not professional enough to ensure your resume communicates your value. In short, you will not make a good first impression.

Instead, try something like, "Project oriented with three years of experience coordinating high-profile marketing events for a major marketing firm."

If you are not sure how to approach the process, hire a professional resume writer who can identify and communicate your unique value. Make sure you review samples of their work so you do not spend money on a resume service that is going to take a standard approach in writing your resume. Look for how individual each resume is in their portfolio of resume samples.


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