Writing a resume is easy. You list everything you do, add bullets, throw in some keywords, maybe a formatting trick you learned in college, a quick spell check and boom you’re set!
Pretty straightforward stuff, right? But, have you taken the time to read your resume? Not review it, but read it. Really, study it? For most of us, the answer is no.
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If you haven’t really read your resume, do you know what your resume says about you? Does it compel a reader to ask questions, want to know more or become energized?
A Resume Is A Key Tool In Your Job Search Tool Box
A great resume is what sets you apart from every other candidate you’re competing against. When you simply list the key functions of your job, where you went to school and how much you love running as a hobby, you really are leaving out everything an employer cares about!
Your resume should grab a reader’s attention. Every recruiter or hiring manager is desperate to find the perfect candidate for their role. They aren’t purposefully trying to eliminate applicants, but if your resume doesn’t immediately grab their attention you’re thrown into the “no” pile!
- Ditch your objective statement! Add a professional summary highlighting your skills and abilities. Target your summary to align with the open position as much as possible!
- Proofread your resume! Do not rely on spell check alone. Sure, spell check will catch errors. It will also frequently miss grammatical errors and change a misspelled word to a less than favorable replacement word. For example, I once received a resume that repeatedly stated the individual was a Manager…pretty sure they meant Manager, but I was still left scratching my head.
- Don’t use a template or dated formats, unless you want to be viewed as a less than creative person with zero individuality! Templates are easy to spot and scream, lazy, boring and entry level. Create a resume from scratch. If you aren’t up to speed on current formats, be conservative with styling.
Does Your Resume Say, Hire Me
A resume should do more than list your functions and tasks at work. A resume should tell your story. It should allow the reader to succinctly understand how you think, make decisions and contribute to your team. While an employer certainly cares about your technical skills and acumen, they want to understand how you apply your base of knowledge to your role.
- Blend technical skills and tasks with accomplishment based content. When creating accomplishment based content think who, what, when, where, why and results! Convey how the work you have done impacts your company.
- Show how you solve problems and process concepts by demonstrating how you have driven change, improved processes and managed projects.
- Target your resume to the open position. The biggest resume mistake we see candidates make is the use of a one size fits all resume. Your background is varied and you cannot cover it all in one document. You have to pick and choose what content will be most impactful to the reader you’re sending it to. Use the job description as a guide!
- Do not use jargon unique to your team or employer and expect someone unfamiliar with your company to value or understand it. For example, if you use a database to track your customers that is homegrown and your company calls it “Bob’s Tracker” do not put this on your resume. Simply refer to it as a CRM. “Bob’s Tracker means nothing. However, the term CRM translates across multiple sales organizations and industries.
- Your resume can be longer than one page. Unless you’ve just graduated college or have only held one position, your resume will go past one page if written correctly. Keep in mind you aren’t writing a novel. If you have several years of experience, you’ll most likely need to shave off positions held early in your career, but, be mindful to not eliminate great content simply to satisfy a make-believe one-page resume rule.
Review Your Resume From A Different Perspective
Take a second to look over your resume. Try to be as objective as possible as you read it. Ask yourself “Would I hire this person for this role?” “Do I understand how this person can immediately add value to my team or organization?” If you can’t quickly answer those questions, head back to the drawing board!