We all have one and whether it’s good or not, we have doubts from time to time. I’m talking about a resume. If you’re in the heat of a job search or just shining up your resume just in case, run your resume past these quick tips to be sure you’re not missing anything.
As VP of an international recruiting company, I’ve interviewed hundreds of people and have assisted hiring managers in hiring their own staff. I’ve seen some killer resumes and some that were…well, horrific. From Glamour head shots and lengthy explanations as to why they left each and every position, to descriptions of food allergies and bad jokes that don’t translate on paper, I’ve seen it all.
A resume is like the pilot of a TV show. It has to gain interest, show what it can do and where it could go in a small amount of time.
Instead of presenting yourself in a way that’ll get you the job, it’s best to look for a position where you can gain experience and use the expertise you already have to make an impact. You can showcase this when your resume checks these 3 boxes:
~ What do I have the skills for? What about my experience and perspective makes me the person to hire?
~ How can I add value to this person or company?
~ Where do I seek to grow?
For this last one to work, it’s not about how this job will give you the experience you want to move on and up but instead shows a determination to grow and expand which is attractive to a hiring manager. Avoid using job titles to explain this point and instead discuss the skills you’d like to develop to explain your point.
Your resume represents a part of your brand.
Run your resume through these 10 points before sending it out:
1. Unless you’re in the creative field, stick to an easy to read format. No pictures of yourself and no crazy fonts or borders.
2. Be sure your resume is in first person.
3. Be succinct. One page or 2 doesn’t matter as long as the key information is easy for the reader to find. Can the reader find the highlights or is it one blob of text?
4. If you’ve been out of school for more than 5 years, move your education to the bottom. Lead with your most recent job and work backward chronologically. Again, unless you’re a new grad, your graduation date isn’t necessary.
5. If you’ve held several positions at the same company, use the company name as the section’s header and move backward. If the positions were similar in nature, for example, account executive and senior account executive, list both titles and dates, one on top of the other with the bullets of your skills and accomplishments below. If the positions were different, give each position a sub-section under the company header also with the dates.
6. List accomplishments instead of job duties. How did you save the company, your boss, your clients or your team time or money? Quantify your experience by using numbers and percentages.
In order to be specific, consider these questions: how much, how many, how often?
For example, instead of saying you managed a team, explain the size of the team and how many of those people have found success, moved up, etc. Think of it this way, many people are managers and not many are good at it. Showing how you’ve been successful at leading is more impactful than telling.
Bullet these points versus paragraphing. I recommend no more than 5 bullet points per position.
7. Remove the objective statement. In lieu of it add a “Highlights” section. Here you can list any certifications, titles, or awards. If you list any here, don’t repeat them again when listing out your skills and accomplishments under each position. Again, use bullet points to keep it clean.
Think of this section as a place to showcase the benefit you’ve been to your company using quantifiable examples. You can also highlight any milestones in this section. For example, you might add, “Worked my way up from an Account Executive to a Branch Manager within 3 years,” or “Improved customer loyalty by 22%.”
8. Customize your resume for the job you seek. Instead of simply changing out a few titles or duties, connect the dots between what you’ve done and what you’re looking to do. This can be done by highlighting transferable skills.
9. Add a link to your LinkedIn profile. If you haven’t done so, personalize your page’s link. For example, mine is www.linkedin.com/in/anneomland. Here’s how to it in LinkedIn:
- Move your cursor over Profile at the top of your homepage and select Edit Profile.
- Click Edit next to the URL under your profile photo.
- In the Your public profile URL box in the bottom right, click “Customize your public profile URL”.
- Type the last part of your new custom URL in the text box.
- Click Set Custom URL.
10. Limit experience to what’s relevant to your ultimate goal. Don’t feel like you have to list every job you’ve held since high school. The past 10-15 years is preferable.
Remove these from your resume
- “References on Request”
- Overly-used words like: detail-oriented, team player, go-getter. Be creative instead.
- Skills or experience that is a no-brainer. For example, worked on a team or MS Excel experience. Unless you’re new to the workforce or are in search of an administrative role, those aren’t necessary to list out.
- Listing your hobbies.
Real estate is valuable on a resume. My question when reviewing resumes is “what’s so great about this person?” and “why do I care?” It’s not meant to be harsh but in a sea of hundreds of resumes, you need to stand out. This can be done by being a real person, highlighting your accomplishments and how they can benefit the company you’re hoping to join.
What are your resume do’s and don’ts? Share in the comments below!
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