There it is. Your professional life summed up in one or two pages.
Nothing flashy. Just a bunch of words that you, or someone you hired, created to express your impact as a working professional.
When you are creating your next advancement opportunity, it is imperative that your resume accurately reflects who you are and the VALUE you bring to an organization.
When I work with my one-on-one clients and review their resume, I am often curious about what they write and what it means. Often, people tend to write their resumes more like a job description rather than write about who they are and what value they can bring to a new position.
So, here a few helpful tips when writing your resume.
Write Your Base Resume
Your base resume is a living document that includes every job you have held, what you did within that position, along with your achievements, accomplishments, and impact while in that position. It’s important to get all of your ideas down on paper before you customize your resume when preparing to submit your application. Everything is fair game when creating your base resume. Leave nothing behind so make sure you write everything down.
Your Resume is a Living Document
Often, we only update our resume when we are applying for a job. However, your resume is a living document as evident by your job experiences, accomplishments, and achievements. Update your resume at least once a year. I found it easiest to update my resume when I was having my annual performance appraisal because the information was top of mind. I encourage you to find a way to update your resume on a regular basis, so it’s much easier for you when the time comes to hit the submit button.
Your Professional Profile lives at the top of your resume directly under your contact information. These few sentences specifically and accurately describe who you are as a professional, what you do, and the value you provide. This is the first part of the resume someone will read. On average, a hiring manager or recruiter will take about six seconds to read it and decide whether or not they read the rest of your resume. Your profile needs to be your elevator speech and capture the reader’s attention. If you don’t believe your Professional Profile completely reflects who you are, re-write it.
Pick a Format
There are several different resume formats you can use, and you can view them here. Select a format you like and keep it professional. There is no need for fancy borders, fonts, and graphics. Your resume is your professional calling card.
Applicant Tracking System
More companies are using Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to initially screen viable candidates. Prospective candidates will move forward in the selection process when they meet the initial criteria for job qualifications and experiences. Make sure your resume and cover letter use keywords that directly relate to the job posting. You can read more about the ATS and tailoring your resume here.
State Your Impact
One of the most common mistakes people make when writing their resume is to make it read more like a job description rather than citing your accomplishments and impact. Under each position, write three or four carefully constructed bullet points that state how you made an impact or difference. How did you improve a process? How did you save the company money? How were you recognized for your efforts? Tell your story based on your achievements and accomplishments that make you unique and the best candidate for the job. Also, keep your experiences relevant to the last 10-15 years of your career.
Customize Your Resume for Each Job Application
You must tailor your resume for each job application especially if a company is using an Applicant Tracking System. Find those keywords contained in the job posting and insert them into your resume. Let your resume speak volumes about why you are the best candidate for this position because your experience is directly related to satisfying their professional need.
Just a Few Resume Logistics
Email Address – Have a professional email address. If you are using your “old” email address that reads something like, SassyGirl43@insertemailprovider.com, get a new one for your job search. Have an email address that contains your name and reflects a professional presence.
Length – Make sure your resume is one or two pages long. For younger professionals, one page is sufficient. For mid-career and more senior professionals, two pages are appropriate. There have been times where I have seen, and recommended people use the third page but only if their job history and experience warrant it.
Proofread – It’s like the old saying, “You never get a second chance to make a first impression.” This is your first, and so you want to make it count. Make sure that your resume is free of spelling and grammatical errors. Look at your spacing and be certain that there are no line stragglers where a bullet point hangs out on the next page related to a position on the previous page. Make your resume aesthetically pleasing to the reader. Lastly, make sure your resume says precisely what you want it to mean.
Consider Hiring a Professional Resume Writer
I review resumes, but I don’t write them. I know people who are excellent at writing crafting, and I’m happy to refer you to someone if you are interested.
When you have written your resume, or you paid someone to write it for you, I want you to ask yourself one question. What does your resume say about you? If you don’t feel completely and utterly proud of what your resume says about you, it is missing something. Go back and revise it. My wish for you is that when you click the submit button, and you apply for that job that could very well be your next advancement opportunity, you do so feeling as if you left nothing behind. You put yourself completely out there and proud of what you have accomplished and ready for what’s next.
If you know someone who would enjoy this blog post, forward it to them so they can listen, lean in, and step toward creating their next advancement opportunity.