No one really enjoys writing resumes do they? We’ve been in the industry for 15+ years and we can’t say we love writing resumes but we do love reading well-written ones. We have reviewed thousands and thousands of resumes over the years so we do know a thing or two (or three or four) about how to write them. We have narrowed down our list of top recommendations that will make your resume stand out. So listen up and get ready for a resume overhaul.
- Tell a story
Your resume is the life story of your career and other experiences that are relevant to whom you are today. Make it compelling. Take the reader along on your journey so they understand your unique qualifications and how you can help them. This can be done through a brief intro or throughout the entire resume. Each role (job, internship, volunteer position, etc.) listed in your resume, should provide details and successes to continue carrying the reader along on that journey.
- Quantify successes
It’s okay to brag a little. How do you expect to convince someone of your greatness if you can’t brag about the great things you have done? Quantify your results and share your successes. You want to demonstrate your expertise. This is the best possible way to do this. Everything is measurable now. Show what you can do.
- Tell the what AND the why
Quantifying your successes may be difficult for some. Most of us can’t go back to previous employers to get metrics or dig into previous campaigns and projects. However, you can and you should clearly state the what and why of every bullet in your resume. Don’t just say “Write social media content for company blog, LinkedIn, and Twitter accounts”, say “Write social media content for company blog, LinkedIn and Twitter with the goal of increasing overall customer engagement”. This becomes more impactful if you can quantify that engagement.
- Customize to the job
Customize your resume to the job. Each time you apply to a job, you should tweak your resume to fit the job description to which you are applying. This should include the keywords or buzzwords (think SEO for resumes) that you see being used in the job description so that your resume can be properly parsed in the HR systems. Be honest and clear in detailing your experiences as it relates to the job. Do not include keyword or buzzwords that aren’t relevant to your experiences.
- Include contact information
I wish I didn’t have to add this to the list but I do. Your resume certainly won’t shine if you don’t leave a way for someone to contact you. You would be surprised. I have seen too many resumes that don’t provide contact information. At the minimum, you should include a phone number and email address on every resume you send out.
- Measure twice and cut once
Or something like that… You don’t want to cut wrong, or in this case, you don’t want errors in your resume. Read, read and reread your resume. Take a break from working on it and read it again. Read it out loud to yourself. If you change something in it, go back and reread it again. Have someone else read it over for you. Do whatever works for you. But please, don’t send error-riddled resumes out!
If you can do these six things well in your next resume overhaul, you will see better results when you apply to your next job. We would love to hear your feedback. Is there anything we have missed? Is there a topic you would like to know more about. Feel free to share suggestions at firstname.lastname@example.org.