Monday, October 24, 2011

Writing Better Content -- from Resumes to Blogs!

As a resume writer and as a publisher, I'm always looking for ideas on how to improve my copywriting skills, because words are at the heart of everything I do. Copywriting (defined) is "the art of writing to sell or achieve a specific goal." Whether we're writing to get our clients the interview (resume/cover letter) or to get prospective clients to call us (article writing/blog), we need to be creating good content.

The headline of your article or blog post is vitally important. It motivates people to read your article. The same is true with the resume. A good headline (outlining our client's value proposition) can entice the reader to continue reading. The longer they read the resume (and/or cover letter), the more likely your client is to get an interview. Most resumes get anywhere from 15 to 60 seconds of attention. A good headline can help get the first 15 seconds ... good content in the resume can get it 60 seconds or more!

These techniques work for articles and blogs (starred ones work for resumes and cover letters):
* Ask a question
* Make a promise*
* Offer a benefit*
* Arouse curiosity
* Appeal to emotions
* Use numbers*
* Make an announcement

Call to Action
Once you've motivated someone to read your content, make sure they take action. This ties back to the purpose or goal for your article or blog post. (The purpose of the resume and cover letter is to get an interview; the action we want the hiring manager to take is to call the client!)

If you're writing a blog post and want people to read more about you on your website, then include a few relevant links at the end of your article. Tell them to click on the links to learn more about your niche. Always include some sort of call to action, even if you just want them to leave comments on your blog.

Use Examples
One great way to really get your reader involved in your content is to use examples. In a blog post you can use personal examples. In your article content you may want your examples to be more general. In a resume, it's about CAR (Challenge-Action-Result) examples.

Examples help paint a picture for the reader. Instead of just telling them something, you're showing them too.

Visual Aids
More and more content online is also using visual cues to make it interesting to the reader. Although you can include graphics on resumes and cover letters, you don't need images to create an impact. Your cover letter can incorporate subheadings, bold lettering on words that need to grab attention, and bullet points to draw the eye down. (Take a look at sales letters for examples of how to incorporate these tactics.) In addition to formatting your content for easy online reading, consider using photos (of a key client project for example -- not of your client), graphics (sales achievement graphs or profitability charts), and other images to help inform your reader.

It's not uncommon for a blog to include a photo in every single blog post. Additionally, if you're writing a how-to article, you might include a few demonstration photos. (Or before-and-after resume examples.)  If you're writing a review (of a career-related book, for example), you might include an image of the product you're reviewing (book cover, or photo of the author). And if you're writing an informative article, you might include graphs, charts, infographics, or screenshots.

Using a few handy copywriting tactics for your content can help improve readability and reader response and it can help you achieve better content marketing results. Try implementing a few of these ideas -- for your own projects, or your clients' -- and watch your results soar.


  1. Is this blog only provides the tips for resume writing or will it also provides sample resumes?

  2. This blog is oriented towards career industry professionals (resume writers, career coaches, recruiters, college career center staff), not for the general public.

    If you're looking for sample resumes for your personal job search, Google "sample resume + (your job title)" -- without the parentheses.