As a professional resume writer, one of the important elements of our role is to sell the capabilities of our clients effectively.

With so much competition in the job market at the moment, it’s important that we find a way to positively promote our clients’ attributes so that they get more interviews and have an increased chance of success.

However, if you’re writing a resume for yourself, this can be a difficult process and it can be hard to put down on paper what your strengths are in a compelling way.

We often feel self-conscious and feel as though we are in danger of sounding arrogant if we are too extravagant in the language that we use to describe our capabilities, so there is a simple test that I use to measure the effectiveness of the resumes that we write.

I call it the “Best Friend Test.”

If you were to show your resume to your best friend, what would they think?

If they read it, shrug their shoulders and say, “That’s about right,” you probably haven’t gone hard enough.   Sure you may have accurately described your work history and qualifications, but you should be selling your capabilities a bit more.

Sample phrases here could be “served customers” or “sold products.”

If they read it, raise their eyebrows and say, “I think that this is about someone else,” you’ve probably gone too far.  A resume needs to be a document that sells your capabilities, not a work of fiction.  You don’t want to land a job on the basis of a lie, so make sure that you’re not making things up as you go along.

Sample phrases here could be anything that is patently not possible such as, “delivered the most phenomenal service ever” or “smashed every sales record in company history.”

If they read it, smile  and say, “Gee, you’re full of yourself aren’t you?” you’ve probably hit the mark.  It means that you’ve been able to use compelling and positive language to describe your suitability for the role.  It means that you’ve been able to shamelessly, yet honestly, quantify your achievements.

Importantly, it also means that you’ve dramatically increased your opportunity to be successful.

Sample phrases here could be, “delivered excellent service to customers” or “met challenging sales targets.”

So, when writing your resume, don’t sell yourself short and don’t write a piece of fanciful fiction, but apply the “Best Friend Test” and make sure that you sell yourself in a positive and convincing manner.

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