What Does Your Resume Say About You?
In many ways, your resume is your calling card. It’s also commonly the first impression you will make. Whether you have put together an overview of your background or a formal resume, this document sets the stage for assumptions to be made about who you are and what you do. Bearing that in mind, you need to put some care and effort into what you’re presenting to the audience and the impression it will leave.
To help you get started and really map out an impactful resume, take a piece of paper and put a line down the middle. On one side, write down all that you are responsible for in your current role. On the other side, write all that you have accomplished in each function of this role. Your list is probably pretty extensive. Decide what sets you apart. Look for the keywords and pick out the items that make the biggest difference to your company or would be recognized in the industry as important.
Next, write a few sentences regarding your responsibilities. Carefully consider your word choices. How can you improve? Does it sound boring or typical? Is it clear and concise?
There are several questions you should ask yourself:
What keywords will readers be looking for?
You know the industry you work in and the buzzwords people talk about. These are the words that people will use to judge whether or not you have what they are looking for. Make sure you put the keywords in and highlight your experience around them. Use them to draw in the reader’s attention to read further.
Is your title easy enough to identify on your resume?
Eyes also look for level of experience and some look immediately for your title to make that determination. Titles can be somewhat different, but if you know the industry you will understand the title. For example a Director of Quality in one company may be called a Director of Continuous Improvement in another. Make sure you can find it easily on the page to signal your level of experience and area of expertise.
Does the short paragraph defining your role truly capture what you do?
Be sure to highlight the main purpose of your position. Do you manage a team of 5 or 10 people who are responsible for a specific department? Wherever possible, tie in numbers or percentages that make an impact. Two examples: “I manage a team of 10 sales people responsible for generating a minimum of $1,000,000 in new sales monthly,” or “I oversee a plant of 40 individuals who maintain and generate 45% of our products.” In essence, you want to lead with results. In this section, do not write your job description. Try using a little narrative with bullet points. You should be able to quickly view this section and get a solid understanding of what you do.
Do you have accomplishments listed?
When it comes to accomplishments, try highlighting them as “Selected Accomplishments” instead of “Accomplishments.” You don’t need people judging whether or not they think you have listed enough in this section.
Make sure the selected accomplishments are somehow quantifiable. This is an area on your resume that should stand out; it can be one of the first places someone will zero in on.
Did you remember to list out your education, licenses and certificates?
Be clear and concise in this area. Consider the position you are in and how important licenses and certificates are to your job. They should be easily recognized on your resume. If you do not have a degree, but have attended college or are currently attending school, put the information in.
As your resume is coming together, think about how you compare to other people doing this job with a competitor company. Whether a company has an opening or not, they are looking for someone whose experience and resume heightens their level of interest.
The key is to write what you believe people will read. Help them reach the conclusion that they want to talk to you.
Pull it all together in a style that is well-organized and easy to read. When you finish, have someone outside of your industry read it to make sure they understand what you do. Then, have someone in your industry look at your resume & ask what they are drawn to. Finding a good editor or two will make all the difference. After you review, it should be ready to go!
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