The next entry in the Job Search Series is about: Writing your resume. This entry is very challenging to write about because there are so many different formats for resumes not to mention things that you can actually put on your resume. Unfortunately there is no really right or wrong way to go about this from a style point of view.
In an effort to give the best advice possible when it comes to writing your resume here are some things to keep in mind:
- Be honest
- Tailor the resume to the job that you’re looking for
- Highlight relevant experience
- Don’t worry about things like length (most of the time this doesn’t matter)
Where to start? Haven’t written a resume before or in a very long time? Look at the notes that you made in the first two steps of this series as a starting point. Your goal is to highlight your past experience and your most positive results from those jobs. Chances are you were able to come up with a long list of tasks, responsibilities and accomplishments but you need to look at the possible jobs that you’re interested in and pick the ones that are most appropriate.
For example if you’re looking for a job in management you want to highlight the fact that you managed people in the past. Making sure that what you’re putting down is relevant will go a long way to helping you get your foot in the door.
As a hiring manager for the better part of this decade I’ve seen a few resumes and in a large pile of resumes you need to make sure yours stands out (for all the right reasons). Getting through the screening process to an interview is a contest; you need to make sure that your resume stands out so you can win it. Here are a few things that I’ve seen and done to make a resume stand out:
- Clarity – don’t let your statements be too ambiguous
- Focus on results – saying that you managed something/someone is nice but saying you “managed 7 staff improving the efficiency of turn around times by 25%” is more focused and results driven
- Creativity – if you’re not 100% qualified point out reasons or items that will help you succeed (think transferable skills)
- A little humor – A line or two with a small comment to make the hiring manager smile will make you stick out and give you character, you’re not a piece of paper you have a character see if you can incorporate it a little
Remember to keep the reader in mind when you’re writing your resume. You might be an amazing worker but if you’re not highlighting the right things on your resume it might not seem that way. Once you’re written your resume take a bit of a break and then read it as if you were looking through a stack of them – adjust as necessary.
One final point and probably one of the most important: Spell Check! Then pass your resume to someone who is a good writer and have them read it. If they’re not in your industry even better, this will point out grammatical problems and force you to clear up any ambiguity.
In the next step in the series we’ll cover getting yourself out there. There’s nothing wrong with the old fashioned statement of pounding the pavement which we’ll cover on Friday.