The quality of your resume will have implications on your earning potential and opportunities for advancement.
Looking for a job or preparing to advance your career? Resumes are still incredibly important to your job search success, and that applies to all levels of business.
I work with so many brilliant professionals who are stumped when it comes to resume writing. The reality is, we don’t write resumes often so the process can feel somewhat unnatural. If you have doubts, know that a feeling of trepidation exists among most of us at all levels.
Here are some tips to spark your resume writing success:
MAKE IT ACCOMPLISHMENT-BASED
A summary-based resume just won’t cut it if you want to stand out and advance in your career. Summarizing your work experience rather than highlighting your accomplishments may get you in the door, but a summary-based resume will make you appear more junior. The impact is you will be considered for more junior roles and offered a less generous compensation package.
Employers want to know what you’ve accomplished so they can understand what employing you will accomplish for them.
What I so often see is something like:
A successful professional with 15 years of sales experience and success. I am passionate about customer relationships and enjoy working as part of a team. My experience includes people leadership and managing budgets while successfully driving sales.
What I advise my clients is to write something like:
I am a passionate people leader with 15 years of proven sales success. In my current role I increased sales by 15% within the first 6 months and by 25% within my first year. While new business is important, lead generation requires significant time and resource. For that reason I am known for successfully coaching my team to focus on retaining and growing current customers. I can be relied upon to grow your business quickly and sustainably.
You can see why the second example will stand out for a hiring manager.
MAKE IT SIMPLE
A recruiter or hiring manager motoring through hundreds of resumes a day will want to scan your resume quickly. Features which make your resume difficult to read can mean you will not be considered for desired roles.
I find candidates can get caught up in ascetics, using various fonts, colours and lines to make a document beautiful. Unfortunately these features can also make a resume difficult to read. I advise my clients to choose a simple font and simplify composition of their resume.
The language you choose is important. Depending on the role, flowery, academic language can be a turn-off. An employer needs to know you are a capable communicator. If you appear to compromise clarity in favour of appearing scholarly your fit with the organization will be called into question.
Furthermore, if your resume is posted on websites, the use of simple, common language and terms associated with your function is critical. The algorithm applications (and yes, job search engines, recruiters and employers still use them) may fail to match your resume with jobs in your field.
WRITE IN FIRST PERSON
When it comes to your profile (or the blurb at the top of your resume) and your LinkedIn Profile, I HIGHLY recommend writing in first person. I know social media and LinkedIn expert Leslie Hughes agrees with me! Just consider the difference...
Amy GETS people. She has a knack for understanding what consumers and employees want, need and will do. She is a career advancement and change management expert and author of, A Spark in the Dark: Illuminating Your Path to a Brilliant Career in a Reorg World.
I GET people My ability to understand what consumers and employees want, need and will do has guided and fueled my career. It is the reason I became so interested in career advancement, the people side of change management and wrote A Spark in the Dark....
Let a prospective employer (or client) feel like they KNOW you a little. Your resume and LinkedIn profile are their first exposure to you.
SYNC WITH LINKEDIN
I routinely note inconsistencies for my clients between their resumes and LinkedIn profiles. If they are serious about interviewing or hiring you, a recruiter and hiring manager will look at both your resume and LinkedIn profiles. Any inconsistencies, no matter how minor, will impact your credibility. Prepare to be questioned about them – better still, make sure they don’t exist!!
Given the significance resumes have on our professional outcome it's important to seek help when we need it. If you are preparing to write a resume, I highly recommend reading my recent article, Storytelling Your Way to Interview Success which introduces a simple, fun and effective process to help you identify your accomplishments.
You are also welcome to send your resume to me here, and I will let you know if you're resume ready!
Amy Davies is a career advancement and change management expert, insights executive and corporate trainer. She is the author of A Spark In The Dark: Illuminating Your Path To A Brilliant Career In A Reorg World. To set up a free 30-minute career consultation click here or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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