How to Build a Job Winning Resume

There is a secret to building a perfect resume. My goal in this article is to teach you how to draft a resume that is more likely to get you the job than any other resume in the resume pile!

In this article you will learn:

  1. The little known secret to building the perfect resume.
  2. How to spy on your competition to ensure your resume is better than theirs.
  3. The best resume format.
  4. The exact words that Employers and Recruiters want to see on your resume.

Let’s get this party started…

The Little Known Secret to Building the Perfect Resume

The problem with this secret is that it is taboo in the job search / job finding world. Everybody knows it’s true…nobody likes to admit it. This little resume secret is complete blasphemy in “the industry.”

I don’t like to associate with scandal, but I have to be real with my peeps (that’s you). So here’s the secret…

The resume isn’t really that important.

Dare I say the resume is the least important aspect of the job finding process? And as technology becomes more and more ingrained in the job finding process, the resume becomes less and less important.

If you are relying on your resume to get you the job, you are a bottom feeder. You’re a nameless, faceless, schmuck in a resume pile. If you are relying on your resume to get you the job, then you don’t really need a good resume, what you need is to be lucky…you need to win the resume pile lottery.

Dustin’s Resume Parable

There are 2 Nukes looking for a job. One of them is named Dustin, the other is named QW. Both of them are six and out Nukes with engineering degrees.

General Electric needs an entry-level engineer at a facility in Lockport, Illinois. GE posts the job on their website, on, and on the Navy Nuke Job Finder Forum.

6,000 entry-level engineers submit their resume. GE weeds out the 3,000 people who applied via, just because. Between GE’s own website and there are 3,000 nameless, faceless, schmucks in a resume pile to choose from.

QW is not worried; he has a PERFECT resume. He spent months and $$ crafting the perfect resume. He hired the best Resume Firm in the country to consult with him on his resume. He then went on and hired someone with a PhD in Technical Writing (and a Minor in Job Search Analytics from Harvard) to review and re-draft his resume. Then he submitted it to the GE job posting knowing that he was going to get the job.

That’s QW’s experience, now let’s travel 3 months back in time. DOODLE LEE DO, DOODLE LEE DO, doodle lee do…

Three months ago Dustin decided he wanted to work for GE. He started networking with GE people on LinkedIn, Facebook, and some obscure online forum for employees of GE. Through all of this online networking he found out about some kind of charity golf tournament for employees of GE who were raising money for the local SPCA.

Dustin has a dog, but hates golf…more importantly Dustin needs to get actual face time with actual GE people (so he’s not just a nameless, faceless, schmuck in a resume pile).

Dustin signs up for the charity golf tournament and ends up meeting a few cool employees at GE. He gets their email address.

A few days later Dustin follows up (it’s all about the follow up baby). He sends each of them an email just to say hey it was good to meet with you Saturday, I’ve been thinking of hitting the range soon, let me know if you want to go work on your swing some time (that’s called a soft sale…it’s Marketing 101).

One of the 5 people (Bob) that Dustin met and followed up with responds to his email. Bob doesn’t want to play golf, but invites Dustin to a happy hour on Thursday. Dustin goes to the happy hour and meets a few more GE people, and tells Bob that he’s in the job market and to let him know if he knows of anything that pops up at GE (another soft sale).

Well Bob doesn’t know of any jobs that are available, but Cathy from HR is his Mom’s best friend and he gives Dustin Cathy’s email. Dustin emails Cathy and says that Bob mentioned that he should drop her a message to see if she knew whether GE would be hiring entry-level engineers soon.

It turns out that Cathy just left a teleconference with the VP at the Lockport facility and now she needs to find an entry level engineer. Long story short, 2 weeks later they are prepared to make Dustin an offer, but FIRST they have to satisfy all the EEO regulations and such so they post the job onto 3 websites so that the Bureaucrats at Corporate can check a box that allows them to show compliance so that they can keep all of their Government Contracts.

And what about Dustin’s resume? Who gives a rip, he knows Bob.

The key to building a perfect resume is PEOPLE. Talk face to face with actual people. When you know the right people, your resume doesn’t matter. If you wanted to work for Nucor Steel, and the CEO of Nucor Steel was your Uncle, do you think your craptastic resume is going to have any bearing on whether you get the job?

Go meet people. Go to job fairs and talk to people. Probably nothing will come of the job fair, but get their contact info, and follow up. Maybe nothing will come of that, but at least you made contact, at least you talked to a real person instead of spending 2 hours registering on a website and uploading your resume to some corporations resume bank.

Go meet people. Go meet people. Go meet people. A good book on the nuts and bolts of this is called Cracking the Hidden Job Market, check it out.

Maybe you are one of those human excuse machines who are saying, “but Dustin I can’t meet people I (insert excuse here).”

Well then if you can’t face to face meet people, then do the next best thing, reach out to them on LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Google+, or via the email address they listed on LinkedIn.

If you can’t do that because (insert excuse here), then hire someone on or to do it for you.

Spy on Your Competition to Ensure Your Resume is Better

I’m an attorney, and whenever I want to work for or with a new law firm, I go to the firm’s website. Just about every law firm website has a page that lists all of their attorneys and each attorney has a bio that lists their skills and experience.

I find the attorney(s) at that firm who are doing the job that I want to do and make sure that my resume/bio highlights those same skills/experiences (assuming I can do so honestly).

Right now somebody out there has the same job that you are trying to get. That person likely has some kind of online profile somewhere that lists their skills and experiences. It may be on the company website, it may be on LinkedIn, or you might just try reaching out to the person and asking what kind of skills/experiences a good candidate would have on their resume. Then draft your resume accordingly.

The point is to design your resume for the specific job you are applying for. Don’t just build a general resume that you will send to every job.

The Best Resume Format

A question I get a lot is whether a resume should be one page or two pages. Don’t stress over this. If you have to make it 2 pages, that’s fine, just be sure to manage your white space so that the real estate on both pages is used equally.

Three pages might be too much but when it all comes down to it, who really cares? The resume format is not nearly as important as who you know…not even the same ball park, not even the same sport.

People ask me whether their resume should be in Bullet Point format or Paragraph format. I prefer bullet point format, but I really don’t think it matters. If you are really perplexed by this, then call the company and ask. Or better yet, get to know someone who works there or who used to work there or who knows someone who works there and ask them.

It’s all about who you know.

But Dustin, I don’t know ANYBODY.

Yeah, join the freaking club. Now get out there and meet someone. Three years ago I didn’t know 1,600 Navy Nukes and Navy Nuke Recruiters, but I’m pretty confident that I could go bankrupt tomorrow and be making at least $50k by next week with that kind of network.

Exact Words Employers & Recruiters Want on Your Resume

I see a lot of resumes and a lot of LinkedIn profiles with these ridiculous intro paragraphs like:

Hard working problem solver looking for a job where I can use my skills…


Motivated out of the box thinker…


I relish an intellectual challenge…

I value ethics and professionalism…

Enthusiastic team worker…self starter…

Oh really? You’re a problem solver?

Do you imagine that any of those phrases sets you apart from the rest of the nameless, faceless resumes?

This is the kind of stuff you say at an interview when you can sit down face to face with a decision maker and look them in the eye. This is not the kind of stuff you say when a non-decision-maker is weeding out profiles and resumes that lack the qualifications to sit in front of a decision maker.

If your resume is one or two pages, then don’t waste a single word on it.

When a recruiter or an employer looks at a pile of resumes in a resume bank, they don’t actually go through and read the 2,000 resumes that they have to choose from.

They go to whatever software they are using (careerbuilder, big biller, the navy nuke job finder forum) and that software has a box where they can type in a keyword to sort through resumes.

If they need to hire an HVAC tech, they search on the keyword “HVAC.” If they need someone who knows how to use an MTS Load Frame they search on the keyword “MTS Load Frame.”

getyourcopyIf your resume has that keyword or is optimized for that keyword, then yours is one of the several resumes that their recruiting software returns to them. Then they start sorting through resumes.

That, my friend, is the complete and total value of a resume. In today’s digital world it is really no more important than that. A good resume will bring you to the top of the resume search results when/if a recruiter/employer decides to use their software to find a candidate (i.e., all other avenues failed).

You may have to do a little research (as discussed above) to determine the exact words (keywords) that should be in your resume. BUT I CAN GAURAN-DARN-TEE YOU THAT NO RECRUITER/EMPLOYER EVER SEARCHES ON RIDICULOUS PHRASES LIKE MOTIVATED SELF STARTER.

Am I Wrong?

I would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section. It seems that very few people agree with my opinions on the value of a resume.

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Author: navynukejobfinder

I did six years as a surface nuke ET. Then college, then grad school. Now I moderate this forum. Gooooooo navy!