A resume is not just a historical document of your work life, a resume is, and should be, so much more than that. When your career is shifting and changing and the need for a resume arises, this is the perfect time for you to sit down with yourself and really analyze who you are, what you are doing, and what you should be doing. Your resume is a reflection of your skills and abilities- it is a tool that you can use to shape opinions of you and land you your dream job, it is a document that does more than list out what you’ve done with your life- it is, and should always be, a reflection of the path you’ve come down to becoming who you want to be- which is exactly why you’re probably filling out your resume wrong.
Work history resumes are boring, predictable, don’t stand out in a stack of resumes among all of the other 12 point font, Times New Roman, work history from A to Z with your college alma mater information on the bottom resumes out there. You’re also missing out on prime interview opportunities because your top talent and best skills are typically buried in the bullet points of your daily tasks you took on at that job that HR and hiring managers didn’t even read because we typically only read the first few sentences of a resume and quickly skim the rest.
You want to use a format that is slightly unexpected but still delivers important information- your skills, talent, experience, and strengths. By bringing your strengths and talents to the fore front on your resume you immediately attract the folks that would potentially be interviewing you to want to dive into those more and ask questions about what you excel at. Why? Because we shape interviews around a resume, we avoid questions that are already answered in the resume, we add questions in that are specific to your work history and abilities, we get 30 minutes to an hour in a room with you for interviews, so we make them worth our while by making them a dialogue and good conversation for both parties, so shape your resume in a way that creates a dialogue that benefits you and makes you look good.
First, ditch the traditional format of a resume and grab my free functional skills based resume template that focuses on skills and competencies and is sure to stick out. Then, as you fill out that template remember these important points and tips:
- Use verbiage that is common in your chosen industry and aligns with the job descriptions of positions you’re applying for. Most companies run resumes through reviewing software to weed out the resumes that don’t seem like a good fit, so you need to lessen the chances of your resume being weeded out before seeing human eyes by using words that are directly from the job description or industry standard.
- When talking about specific goals you exceeded or quotas you crushed, get specific with hard numbers and data. It is not that impressive to say ‘exceeded sales goals consistently’ but it is impressive to say ‘exceeded sales goal in excess of $50,000 quarterly’ or ‘performed above sales quarterly sales goal of $100,000 bringing in additional $50,000 per quarter’.
- Modify colors to be brand colors of company applying for. This is more of a subliminal messaging kind of thing, because an HR rep or manager may see their brand colors on your resume and peak their interest because of that. It can also show them that you did your research and have some buy-in at the company already.
- Know your top skills and align all of your job descriptions (As much as possible) to emphasize those skills. Let’s say you were once an Auditor, but you are focusing your resume on skills related to problem solving and improvement. Yu could word the job description to read: “Reviewed and analyzed completed division members work to review gaps, find root causes of errors, and improve future outcomes. Aligned with team management to review audit results and discuss improvement recommendations- including process changes.” Isn’t that a lot more impressive than saying what auditors really do? Hey now, don’t get offended on me here, I used to be an auditor, so I can talk about how boring and mundane of a job that can be!
- Edit the final version of your resume with fresh eyes. Wait a few days after creating your initial draft before editing for errors, typos, and missing words. After fixing typos and errors, go back one more time and read the resume backwards to just be sure you caught it all. Plus, always have at least one other person review the resume for you.
When it comes down to it, you have to simply make sure that your resume tells the story of your skills and strengths. If all a reader can get from your resume is that you worked at DQ for three years and in a Call Center taking calls for another two, and that you are a “people person”, then you’ve done something wrong. Your resume should reflect who you are as a human being and as a potential employee, it should align with your desired position and emphasize your skills and your passions. HR and managers can sense BS a mile away, they can sense when someone is just applying for a position for the money and won’t bring their A-game to the table and invest in the company and themselves, and that sensing comes first when your resume lands in our Inbox and it lacks passion and data to back it up.
Sign up for the online resume writing workshop and download FREE resume template to take your resume from outdated and typical to attention grabbing and passion driven.