Crafting a resume that creates an impact on those reading it is an overwhelming task. There are thousands of ‘how to’ guides online, and like marketing and real estate, when it comes to resumes, everyone has an opinion.

The advice I’m going to give is taken from 10 years in the staffing industry and 5 years as a writer. But please note, these are opinions – a resume is a representation who you are and so must be an authentic piece. Otherwise, even if you get an interview it will be because the company is expecting to see someone else.

1.This is the beginning of a conversation, focus on beginning a dialogue.

Think of the interview process as a conversation and the cover letter and resume as the hand shake and introduction, communication is one on one, always. Don’t write for a crowd, but for a specific person – ‘When I first joined Bigcorp, I was asked by my manager to increase X, something they had been struggling with for some time. I brought in Y using Z and then this happened,’ and not ‘Created a new reliable system of X through the implementation and effective management of Y.’

And never, ever speak in the third person. This is a document from you to another person, not a press release from a major corporate.

2.Make it authentic, not a template.

You’re a living breathing human being. You’ve worked hard throughout your career and you’re demonstrating your achievements on paper. Don’t take some standard layout and copy and paste your life into it. And don’t try to design it like it ‘should’ be. Make it real to you and of an incredibly high quality.

3. Don’t use jargon, industry terms or corporate speak – write like you talk.

One day, we’ll all lose our jobs to robots, but in the meantime hires are made based on merits and a connection with another individual. You don’t walk up to your partner in the evening and say, “I enjoyed a productive day, including the following outcomes…”

Also, whoever’s reading your resume may not understand the words you’re using and with a big pile of alternatives in front of them, your resume goes in the ‘no’ pile

3. Start with a blank piece of paper.

Make a list –

– What I do – in plain English (!)

– What I want to do, the type of job I’m looking for

Then create a list of the jobs you’ve done and the outcomes you’ve achieved in each one. Then use plain English to demonstrate why you were so good in each role. This simple process will reframe your thinking to be focused on outcomes and results, which is what businesses really want to know about.

Just write, don’t be fussy about language or grammar – write how you speak. If needs be, record it on your phone and then put it on paper after that. Every first draft is terrible, your craft your masterpiece from there.

4. Make an impact – by showing your quality

Don’t try to be ‘out there’ or ‘unique’ if that’s not who you are. Create something of an impeccably high quality and begin a meaningful dialogue with a targeted group of businesses. Explain in plain English who you are, what you’ve done and what you can do. Quality beats different any day of the week.