TORI Resume Entry Selection: Tips from Resume Writing Award Winners

TORI Winners Share How to Select a Winning Resume to EnterOne of the things that we’re told stump many resume writers is how to perform TORI resume entry selection when preparing to enter the annual competition. You likely have found yourself wondering, “What resumes are best, and why?” We went right to the source and asked former winners, and 12 shared their thoughts for this Q&A lesson on:

TORI Resume Entry Selection: Tips from 12 Resume Writing Award Winners.

Meet the respondents:

Laura Smith-Proulx

Laura Smith-Proulx

Tiffany Hardy

Cheryl Lynch Simpson

Cheryl Lynch Simpson

Lucie Yeomans

Lucie Yeomans
Your Career Ally

Melanie L. Denny

Melanie L. Denny


Rachel (Vander Pol) Raymond Headshot

Rachel Raymond

Angela Watts

Gayle Howard

Gayle Howard

TORI Award Winners Answer Your Resume Writing Competition Question:

Resume Selection: When it comes to picking resumes to enter, what are the criteria you use to determine which ones would be best? Is it formatting, wording, a challenging situation, client success….?

All of the above! Normally a unique client with a challenging situation and resulting success is the big decision maker for me.– Marlene Cole

I had just completed a resume and other career documents (bio and LinkedIn profile) for a dynamic and successful CTO / Head of Application Security and one of the categories for the 2020 TORI was High Tech. So, I thought it would be a great resume for this category and the timing was perfect. The final TORI resume really was not much different than the actual resume. This client gave me a lot of leeway stating that she wanted something different from a traditional resume. Also, she wanted the colors to match the colors of the clothing she wore in her headshot, so I chose navy and orange for the resume’s palette.– Marla Emery, ACRW, ACC

I look for resumes with a combination of strong, unique content and innovative design. It’s also important to me that the project is fun or inspiring in some way. This might mean the resume was created for a client who I particularly liked or admired, or it could be a document that I really enjoyed writing. I’m going to spend my free time fine-tuning this document, and I don’t want to choose a project that feels like a chore!– Anonymous

Client success is a big factor, but I also look for stories that are uniquely relevant given their industry’s competitive shifts. These make for the most compelling career stories.– Tiffany Hardy, MS, CERM, NCOPE, ACRW

To me, a TORI-winning resume should show memorable and groundbreaking achievements… so I review my resumes to see which of these “qualify.” I will sometimes combine achievements from different client scenarios to show the different ways one can create a powerful resume. A unique job history, competitive edge among other candidates, or a career in a hot field also catch my eye when selecting TORI resume entries.– Laura Smith-Proulx, CPRW, CCMC, NCOPE

All of the above. The number one criteria I use is client success, followed by the rest. If my client has a unique or interesting story to tell, the rest comes much more easily.– Lucie Yeomans, CGRA, CPRW, NCOPE, CEIC, OPNS, JCTC, JCDC

It starts with the categories. I pull projects from each category that I feel had strong accomplishments, then narrow it down from there. Design is my favorite part, so it doesn’t matter what the initial format was, I can TORIfy it LOL.– Melanie L. Denny, MBA, NCOPE, CPRW

I look for resumes I’ve designed in the prior year which meet the category specifications and showcase a strong history of achievements, a unique career chronology, an exceptional career brand, or some stand out characteristic that will capture the judges’ attention.– Cheryl Lynch Simpson, CMRW, ACRW

In order of priority, I focus on the writing, client accomplishments, and formatting. I only focus on challenging situations for the Difficult Transition strategy. The client’s success level is not a factor whatsoever. In fact, some of my earlier winning submissions are 100% fiction. The client never existed.– Marie Plett, CERM, CPRW, BFA

First off, they have to fit into that year’s categories! Other than that, I base my selections on what I’m particularly proud of for that year. There may have been a new style I tried out that clients liked or a particular client had great content to work with that lent itself to a very well-written and formatted resume. Or, if I know there’s a resume that I kept simple for the client but know I can “spruce it up” for a TORI, I’ll work with that.– Rachel Raymond, CERM, CCST, ACRW, NCOPE

The level of talent among TORI entrants demands that I submit my best work across all factors (clear formatting, intriguing situations, innovative approaches and impactful results).– Angela Watts, SHRM-CP, RACR, CCTC

Wording primarily. But in recent times (say five years) I’ve tried to choose a resume that looks good because I was aware that people get really bedazzled by pretty formats.– Gayle Howard, CMRW, CERM, CGRA, CARW, CRS+IT, CWPP, CPBS, CG3C, CTTC, CCCM, MCD, CONS

Do the New 2021 Classic Design Categories Shift This Dynamic?

Our answer is no. As you can see, even with heavy-design resumes, writing and client content/story are always going to be in the lead for best resume selection.

The classic design categories just make it more accessible for those who want beautifully balanced resumes but don’t focus on high-end design on a daily basis.

The TORIs Are the #1 Highest ROI, Lowest Cost Way to Grow Your Resume Business

There’s no denying the success that former TORI winners and nominees have attained by participating in this annual resume writing competition.

Whether you want to be easily found by job seekers, stand out from the competition, or attain accolades that put you in demand, the TORI awards have done that for resume writers around the globe since 2000.

Remember, those new classic design categories create opportunity for any talented, professional resume writer.

Don’t wait! Registrations are accepted until Friday, July 16, 2021.

Learn More About the TORI Awards

Learn about the competition & new classic resume categories >>

Additional Resources

Access video tutorial & lessons on resume writing >>


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