While resumes now take a back seat to networking as the entry point into a potential new job, it’s still critical to ensure yours stands out. Conveying impact on a piece of paper is challenging, so take every advantage to differentiate yourself.
Here are 10 resume essentials:
1) Focus on how you can solve the organization’s problems, not what you are seeking. Skip the “Objective” in favor of a Profile that shows what you bring to the table.
2) Your resume should read less like a job description and more like the intro for your lifetime achievement award. Accomplishments and results get noticed, not tasks. Consider the difference on Tom Hanks’ resume*:
- Acted in numerous movies and television shows including lead and supporting roles.
- Acted, directed and produced over 65 movies resulting in two Academy Awards, 4 Golden Globes and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Film Institute.
3) Use effective placement. Studies using heat-sensor tests show that resumes are read in an “F” pattern. Be strategic about where you put certain points so they stand out.
4) Have a strong opener. Similar to the point above, you may have only 10 seconds to capture a Recruiter’s attention. Bring your best accomplishments “front and center”. Limit fluff and opt for numbers and facts.
5) Show, don’t tell. Scan your resume for empty words that aren’t backed by specific accomplishments. Don’t tell someone you are a great team-player, rather show an example of how you rolled up your sleeves and pulled an all-nighter to win the largest client contract for Q2.
6) Use “visual” action verbs. Instead of “Worked with the accounting team…” try “Collaborated with…”, which offers a more powerful image. If you use “Responsible for…” on your resume, this is a task, not an accomplishment. Fix it.
7) Avoid paragraphs and lists of more than 5 bullets. Whitespace is inviting. If your resume is written with impact, you don’t need to list everything you’ve done in your career. A few well-positioned achievements will speak volumes.
8) Use key words. Research current industry lingo and ensure you’re using the latest. Terms change and if you only get 10 seconds to get your point across, familiar words will make more of a connection with the reader.
9) Your resume is a marketing document meant to entice the reader to want to learn more. This is not a place to be humble because you can be sure the guy behind you isn’t. However, it IS a place to be truthful. You won’t get past the interview if you can’t speak about what you wrote.
10) Proofread. Go beyond spellcheck, which doesn’t catch words in all caps (unless you set it to) and won’t catch words that are spelled correctly, but used incorrectly. No one will be impressed if you say, “My work ethics are impeachable.”
In a few years, Linked In and other on-line forums will replace resumes altogether. For now, resumes are a necessary tool in a job search and while you may not have Tom Hanks’ qualifications, your resume will definitely stand out from the competition if you follow these points.
* Note that Tom Hanks is not a client of TiltScale and the information in this blog was used for demonstration purposes only.