Making Your Resume Stand Out

As I was in the shower thinking about improving my own resume – which, needless to say, follows the same advice I give you in my book (BTW, I don’t think about my resume in the shower all the time!) – I suddenly had this brilliant idea. Smile

One way to make a resume stand out from "the rest of the pack" could be to make an "executive summary" section at the very front, on the very first page (if the resume is multiple-paged). After all, everyone in the business world is used to seeing an "executive summary" – the equivalent of an academic abstract – which, in fact, is probably the only section anyone reads 99% of the time. By making an executive summary for your own resume, you’ll not only draw the reader’s immediate attention to all the desirable qualifications you possess, but make yourself appear smart and unique, two qualities that Wall Street highly values.

The two key points to making the executive summary work are:

  1. The executive summary should stand out styling-wise from the rest of the resume. I’m thinking of a bordered, centered text box.
  2. The executive summary should be brief and contain only the most interesting and attention-grabbing items from your background. This, unfortunately, is quite difficult to accomplish, unless you’ve published tons of peer-reviewed articles in well-known journals. But it’s totally doable.

So, what do you think of this idea?

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3 Responses to Making Your Resume Stand Out

  1. Wu Chao says:

    That’s a pretty good idea. Is the executive summary OK for a fresh job-hunter? I’m afraid the HR or the headhunter will laugh at this when he comes across the resume for a junior position.What’s your comments, Brett?

  2. Brett says:

    Good question.  Now that I "came up" with this idea, obviously my vision is already colored and I’m biased in favor of seeing some kind of "exeuctive summary" upfront on a resume.  But will other recruiters or employers buy into this?  I really don’t know.
    But if you don’t have much to put in an executive summary, it’s probably best to just start your resume with the "Quantitative Skills" section.
    In my own Executive Summary, for instance, I’ll talk about how many years of practical quant experience I have and some of the highlights in my quant career, in addition to a quick word about what kind of Ph.D. work I did.
    Thanks for your comment, superbwu!

  3. Brett says:

    Here’s another idea: the cover letter, in some way, is also a kind of executive summary, as it sums up your experience and qualification in a letter format.  The "Executive Summary" section on the resume should be much shorter and "punchier."

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