Sometimes your resume can hurt more than help you. In today's job search market, you are often competing against large numbers of applicants, and your resume has to be good enough to make it past the first screening.

The first people to view your resume are often lower-level staff looking for a quick way to weed candidates out of consideration. You can minimize the chances of your resume being eliminated during this round by following three simple rules.

Don't tell too much. A good resume should leave the prospective employer with a whetted appetite, a desire to know more. They will be likely to call and phone-screen you. So don't fill in all the details just yet. Save that for the interview. Do, however, paint a big picture of who you are and what you can offer.

For example, you may have worked several years at your present employer. Certainly you could fill up a few paragraphs with all that you've done. Instead, think of the one or two most critical projects, duties or functions that you provide. List the most important in no more than a sentence or two each.

Here is an example:

Mar 2003 to Present: XYZ Company, Their City, CA
Senior Staff Design Engineer
Products designed/Projects involved: A, B, C.
Description of Most Important Project and why
Description of 2nd most important project and why

Skip the hobbies and personal info. Avoid mind-numbing detail that will cause a reader's eyes to glaze over. One page is ideal -- two pages only if you are a 15- to 20-year veteran with a significant growth and promotion history.

You want the computers to flag your resume for closer examination. Do this by including as many keywords as possible that are relevant to your job skills, as well as specific industry words that may be appropriate. A convenient method to accomplish this is to include a separate "Keywords" section on your resume just below the "Objective". Think of this as an important catchall specifically for the computers to "see".

Here is an example from a candidate employed as a medical quality assurance auditor:

KEYWORDS: Quality System, QA, QS, Audit, Good Manufacturing Practices (cGMP), International Standards (ISO), Corrective and Preventive Action Programs (CAPA), training, QSR, Medical Device, calibration, 510K, TQM, PMA, FDA.

Include the names of major companies you worked with or for in the "Experience" section, as this often is important to employers.

Don't just tell them what you did. Move beyond that and describe the benefit of your accomplishment. A good way to do this is to include several specific ways you helped your employer make money or save money. Remember, the only benefit you can bring to the table is past performance. When you interview (either by phone or in person) this is what will be discussed.

Review all your previous jobs and bring forth examples of some of your best work. How can an employer think of you as a problem solver? If at all possible, try to "monetize" your accomplishments (state them in terms of money). At the interview, you will be prepared to enlarge upon these successes.

Author's Bio: 

As a recruiter, Joe Turner has spent the past 15 years finding and placing top candidates in some of the best jobs of their careers. Author of Job Search Secrets Unlocked, Joe has been interviewed on several radio talk shows. Discover more insider job search secrets by visiting