I oftentimes get asked by friends to make edits to their resumes. I actually really enjoy doing this. It allows me to do a few things:
- Sharpen my own skills
- See where “the norm” is for resume writing
- Realize where a lot of people go wrong
By example, I recently was helping a friend edit their resume. The resume went back and forth with some edits, both on formatting and content. My friend’s final draft came back with a note saying, “I took your edits and am using them as a guideline for interview questions, and I have answers prepared for them.” The suggested edits were not in the resume.
I cannot emphasize this enough – DO NOT ASSUME. Do not assume anything. Do not assume you will GET that interview to tell the interviewer your answers to the questions he wants to hear. Do not assume that the recruiter knows what you are talking about when you say “Displayed great communication skills” (what does that even mean??).
Leave nothing to chance. If you want someone to know, tell them. You may feel it will sound redundant if/when you get that interview, but at least you have covered your bases.
So, as you are preparing your resume, ask yourself:
- What do I want the reader to know?
- What do I know about my skills/qualifications that the reader does not?
- How can I explain this to a reader who doesn’t have a background in what I do?
- How can I show the reader that I am good at what I do?
- How can I make myself stand apart from everyone else?
- What kinds of questions would the reader have for me? How can I best answer them?
- How can I make my resume easy for the reader to pinpoint me as the best candidate?
Good luck! And, as always… I’m all ears!
I had to share this.
We had a resume sent to us. It’s unfortunate that he sent us his auto-insurance quote instead. The good news? He got the safe-driver’s discount. If that doesn’t have “hire me!” written all over it, I don’t know what does!
Just came across this profile today. His name?
I’m glad you’re amazing. I sure wish your profile was too. . .
So you’ve finally decided to get off your butt and look for your dream job. Whether you are a “freshie” (coming right out of school) or just someone who has been off the job market for 5, 6, 7, 15 years, the following rules will always apply.
- Make it readable. 6 point font is not okay! After reading thousands and thousands of resumes, our eyes just aren’t what they used to be. If it is too difficult to read what you’ve accomplished, we will not read what you’ve accomplished! If you are trying to squeeze your resume onto one page, throw that rule out the window; old habits die hard.
- Tell me where you live and how to contact you. Does that sound creepy? It’s not meant to. A lot of positions will require a certain geographic territory. Whether the office is based in San Francisco and needs an onsite employee, or the sales territory is in Chicago and needs a sales rep who already resides in the area and has a network. You aren’t fooling anyone if you don’t put your location on your resume. Address is not necessary, but City/State are appreciated. Also, please make sure your email and phone number (the one we can reach you on most reliably) are on there. And make sure they are correct.
- Make it chronological. I’ve seen resumes where applicants list their experience by “relevance”, which really confuses the heck out of me. How did your resume jump from 1999 to 2013, back to 2002, to 2012, back to 2001? I don’t get it. Again, if it’s too difficult to read, we aren’t going to read it. Harsh, but it is the truth.
- Organize. If you have more than 5 years of work experience after college, your Education section no longer belongs at the top. Experience is worth more than your degree.
- Quantify. This is especially true for anyone in sales. Quantify, quantify, quantify. Tell me how much over-quota you did in 2013 Q1, Q2, Q3. Tell me how much you make your fellow sales reps look like they’re lazy! If you saved your department $100k in licensing fees, tell me that. If you oversaw 21 customers, tell me that too.
- List skills. Fluent in Spanish? PowerPoint pro? Excel guru? While the position you are applying for may not require them, recruiters/managers are always looking for someone that can enhance their team. What can you do for us?
This is just a short-list of “must haves” for a resume that will get a glance. Do this, and you are well on your way to dream-job-success!
PS – Don’t forget to spell check!
Not a good look for a profile. Let’s be more specific, shall we?