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Ten Tips for Writing TORI Award-Winning Resumes

There’s no better ROI for a resume writer than winning or being nominated for a Toast of the Resume Writing (TORI) award.

But there are just 57 days left to register for 2021! 

Ask any winner or nominee about the value, and they will then proceed to tell you how it:

  1. Changed their business virtually overnight with double to triple the traffic,
  2. Was the best publicity they have ever received, and
  3. Has allowed them the luxury of picking and choosing their clients.

That’s a lot of value from simply being recognized for creating a dynamic, visually-distinctive, and powerfully written resume!

Each year professional resume writers from around the world compete to win a TORI award in one of the (now) ten separate categories. While fictionalization and work done solely by the resume writer are required, there are some key bits of advice that we can share to help TORI hopefuls compete to showcase their skills and win:

Recognize that not every candidate will have the accomplishments worthy of a TORI.

Look for candidates who have strong metrics (savings, profits, improvements, growth) and CAR (challenge, action, results) stories to ensure the content is available to create a dynamic document.

Focus the summary section on bottom-line branding.

Don’t waste time with fluffy overviews that don’t make the candidate’s resume stand out or specific examples that make him/her seem to be a one-trick pony. Instead, look to express how the candidate is a bottom-line contributor and express that unique selling proposition.

Use dynamic and engaging language throughout the document with an emphasis on avoiding repetition.

A winning resume has no room for “responsible for” or “responsibilities include”, or use of weak verbs like, “did” or “had”, or for repetition of general verbs like “manage”.

Don’t just tell but sell in the job descriptions by leading with a hook.

The hook is quite simply the challenge or goal of the position. Engage the reviewer with what the candidate was tasked with accomplishing and this will create deeper value for any bullets or content that comes after.

Cross the bridge with language and wording used for the target audience.

If the candidate is changing professions, the content should be written toward that new profession whenever possible. Don’t be afraid to tweak words, language, and slant of experience (aka “cross the bridge”) to make experience relevant.

Balance white space to create an attractive document.

Never leave one or a few words dangling on a single line, or a few sentences or paragraphs alone on a page. Rewrite to create better balance and presentation. Further, look for all opportunities to balance page content to create uniformity and aesthetics.

Don’t be afraid to play with layout, colors, and with MS Office tools.

With an open mind, and MS Word, today just about anything is possible to create a visually distinctive resume. This won’t happen immediately but requires thought, practice, and play. Also spend time studying past TORI winners to understand what others are doing.

>> Remember, in 2021 there are classic design categories that don’t require high design!

Focus on results.

Turn responsibilities into value-packed stories by focusing on always using CAR stories to explain the challenge, action, and result of a job function. Don’t be afraid to support these with attractive charts and graphs for visual pop.

Put equal weight on both written content and presentation.

The resume could be the best written or the most visually distinctive and still not win. We see beautiful resumes that don’t even get nominated because others were far better written. Focus on balancing the two as it must do both to give you the best chance at winning.

>> Again, in 2021 there are classic design categories where looks do matter but they don’t have to be graphic-heavy!

Don’t get dinged by an easy mistake.

TORIIt’s always crucial to proofread, proofread, proofread for spelling accuracy and punctuation consistency. These areas can undermine even the most attractive resume.

Start viewing each resume you write as a possible TORI entry. Put aside ones that are promising and plan to make the time for getting client approval, performing fictionalization, and ensuring you are using top design and writing standards. That way you can blaze your trail!

Again, there are only 57 days left to register for the 2021 competition: make them count!

Learn more about the TORI award competition>>

View TORI-winning resumes>>

Additional Resources

The following lessons, tools, and resources are free to CDI members:

How to Design ATS-Friendly Graphic Resumes with Marie Plett (Video Master Class)

How to Embrace the Future of Visual Storytelling in Resume Writing with Skye Berry (Video Master Class)

Story-Based Value Propositions in Resume Writing, LinkedInProfiles, and Peripheral Documents with Kimberly Robb Baker (Video Master Class)

Executive Career Portfolio Resumes with Mary Elizabeth Bradford (Video Master Class)

Resume Formatting Magic Tricks & Charts in MS Word with Marie Plett (Video Master Class)

Elevate Your Resume Formatting from Blah to Brilliant with Cheryl Lynch Simpson (Video Master Class)

Mind Control via Emotional Resonance in Resume Writing with Donald Burns (Video Master Class)

Visual Branding for Resume Writing in MS Word with Cheryl Lynch Simpson (Video Master Class)

Resume Writing Intake Process with Tiffany Hardy (Video Master Class)

Headlines & Branding Statements in Resumes with Laura Smith-Proulx (Video Master Class)

 Step-by-Step Creative Logos for Resumes with Marie Plett (Video Master Class)

Story Telling & Branding in Resume Writing with Kim Robb Baker (Video Master Class)

10 TORI-Winning Resume Writing Tips in 10 Minutes with Laura DeCarlo (Video Tip)

TORI Spotlight – 1st Place Executive Resume, 2018 Competition (Lesson)

Use Storytelling to Transform Job Descriptions in Resume Writing with Laura DeCarlo (Video Tip)

Value of Visual & Creative Resumes with Laura DeCarlo & Marie Plett (Video Tip)

Is the Resume Really Dead? with Laura DeCarlo, Marie Plett & Audrey Prenzel (Video Tip)

TORI Award-Winning Resume Strategies & You (Core Lesson)

Lessons in Resume Writing from 2017 TORI Winners (Core Lesson)

Secrets to Winning TORI Resume Awards (Audio)

New Graduate Resume Writing Decoded (Core Lesson)

Secrets to Writing New Graduate Resumes (Video Lesson) – follow up to core lesson above

Easy Steps to More Clients, Website Fixes, Better Resumes (Core Lesson)

5 Steps to Resume Information Gathering (Infographic)

Creating Resumes That Visually Pop (Tip Sheet)

Strategies for Client Resume Writing Interviews (Tip Sheet)

Employment Gaps in the Resume (Tip Sheet)

Writing Resumes for Career Changers (Tip Sheet)

Applicant Tracking Systems (Tip Sheet)

Creating Resume USPs & Summaries (Audio)

Resume Writing Power Q&A 2016 (Audio)

Resume Data Mining: Client Information Gathering & Control (Audio)

Super-Secret Red Carpet Resume Writing Strategy (Core Lesson)

Write Better Resumes in Seconds: Fixing Terror Errors (Core Lesson)

Sample Resume Questionnaires

Best Resume Writing Fonts List

Action Verb List

Resume Trends: Global Hiring Survey Report (E-book)

TORI Award Winning Resumes

And many more!

Not yet a member? Learn more now about monthly and annual options