Components of an Effective Résumé

As an expert Plastics Recruiter, I have read countless résumés over the past 13 years of recruiting within the plastics industry and many of them seem to have the same problems.  The biggest issue I see in this industry is that people don’t specify what type of plastics manufacturing they have experience in, or what types of products the companies they have worked for manufactures.  For example, to say you worked for a Plastics manufacturer is too vague.  To say you worked for an injection molder of plastic packaging is better.  To say that you worked for a $300 million injection molder of caps & closures that sells into the beverage, health & beauty and food industries is best.  You would think by just stating that your company made caps and closures that one could assume it would be injection molding and assume what industries they sell into.  You can’t assume that everyone who’s looking at your résumé would know that.  And, it is also very good to have those key words in your résumé because the Applicant Tracking Systems that most companies and recruiters use to store résumés search off of key words.

The odds are good that if you are submitting your résumé for any given position that you are probably just one of many candidates.  This means your résumé is going to be glanced over very quickly, which some people call the “10 second rule”.  That means if the person reviewing your résumé doesn’t see a match within 10 seconds, you will not get a second look.  Therefore, you need to be specific when describing your experience.  Below are some additional suggestions that might help your résumé get a second look.

  1. Customize your resume for the position you are applying for: It’s very difficult, especially for someone with a lot of experience, to have an all-inclusive résumé of everything you’ve ever done.   Your resume should highlight the skills related to the position in which you are applying for.
  2. Cover letters can be helpful. I don’t look at them unless I find someone who might be a good fit for my opening. Cover letters are a good opportunity to share why you are looking for a job, your availability for relocation or any other information relevant to a specific opening.  It doesn’t need to repeat what’s in your résumé
  3. Keep it simple and easy to read.
  4. Avoid long paragraphs and run-on sentences by using bullet points.
  5. A résumé in Word format works well because it is easily read by and downloaded into Applicant Tracking Systems.
  6. I don’t believe in the rule of a 1 page résumé. For someone with 30 or more years of experience, it’s alright to go 2 or even 3 pages.   For someone with a highly technical background, I have seen 4 to 5 pages and it was appropriate.
  7. NEVER lie or overstate your accomplishments. I know of a candidate who lied about having a bachelor’s degree and didn’t get a great job.  Ironically, the job didn’t even call for someone with a bachelor’s degree.
  8. A good résumé format should contain these elements:
    1. Contact information: Should be at the top, starting with your name in larger print and bolded, your address, phone numbers and email address.
    2. Objective: Be careful here!  Make sure your objective matches the job you are applying for.  It’s better to have no objective than to have a generic one.  I have seen qualified candidates get passed over because their objective didn’t exactly match the job they were applying for, even though they were a perfect fit for the job.
    3. Key Skills or Summary: Some people are big believers in having an area like this.  If you decide to put something like this, the same rule applies as when writing an objective.
    4. Experience: This should be chronological with your most recent company listed first.
      1. Company Name, then on the same line to the right have the dates of employment for your entire time there.
      2. One or two line description of the company, size of the company and exactly what they do.  As mentioned in the first paragraph, this should include what kind of plastics company you are working for, the technologies and certifications your employers have and the markets they sell into.
  • Title and on the same line all the way to the left, the dates of that specific position.
  1. Bullet points underneath the title with as many facts, figures and numbers showing how you saved the company money, made the company money, improved processes etc. Numbers, dollar signs and percentages catch people’s attention.
  1. Any education or training you have completed can be at the bottom or there might times where it should be on the top, depending on what position you are applying for. If you have earned a Masters or Ph.D etc., you should put that title right after your name.

Below is a very basic example of how an effective résumé might look:

John Candidate
123 Augur Street
Mentor, OH 44101
Cell – 555-246-3120
Home – 555-245-8563
John@email.com

AJA Company                                                                                                    February 2004 to Present

AJA is a $300 million injection molder of caps & closures that sells into the beverage, health & beauty and food industries.

VP Sales & Marketing                                                                                    January 2009 to Present

  • Increased Sales by $39 million in 2013 without any additional hires.
  • Won back the business of 3 substantial clients that was lost.
  • Helped to Increase gross margin dollars by 38%
  • Expanded into the food and Health & Beauty industries. Prior to this AJA did all of its business with 2 companies within the beverage industry.  We now have no more than 10% of our business with 1 customer.
  • Manage 9 employees – 6 Sales, 2 Customer Service, 1 Technician

Regional Sales Manager                                                                                   February 2006 to January 2009

  • Grew my territory in the Northeast USA from $0 to $38 million in almost 4 years.
  • Landed 3 of the companies most profitable clients in this time.

Technical Service Engineer                                                                         April 2004 to February 2006

  • Handled technical questions and assisted the Sales people when needed for troubleshooting and product design questions.
  • Involved in helping to close $12 million in new business.

Education

  • The Ohio State University – Columbus, OH

Bachelor’s degree in Mechanical Engineering

GPA – 3.9

Additional Training

  • Six Sigma Black Belt
  • ISO 9001

In conclusion, there are many different opinions about writing a résumé but your goal should be to have it so that anyone could pick it up and be able to figure out exactly what it is you do within a few seconds.  Being specific with your company descriptions will help you achieve this.  Your résumé should be easy to read and highlight your accomplishments.  Following those principles will help you get a second look!

Dan Regovich
AJ Augur Group, LLC
Expert Plastics Recruiter, Plastics Headhunter
dregovich@ajaugur.com
440-357-7600