Crafting your own resume can be tricky. You’re emotionally connected to information in your past and consequently it’s natural to have a skewed perspective on what should (and should not) be included on your resume. Additionally, when it comes to writing resumes that get you hired, knowing how to write about your accomplishments is just as important as deciding what to include.
As an Executive Search Consultant, I’ve seen my fair share of resume blunders, oftentimes from individuals with significant experience and accomplishments. In fact, the more experience individuals have in a particular field, the more difficult it can be to pinpoint and quantify the most significant accomplishments. Resumes that get you hired take careful editing – you can’t bang this out during your next lunch break. The good news is that resume writing doesn’t have to be a Sisyphean task, either. Read on for my top three resume tips to help you get started crafting the perfect resume for your next job:
#1: Quantify your accomplishments.
Every bullet on your resume takes up valuable space; make each one count with clear, precise language. For example, a statement like “Led sales team that successfully surpassed quarterly sales goals while reducing overhead costs” is vague and essentially meaningless, leaving your reader to guess whether this accomplishment is even important. What goals did you surpass and by how much? How big was your team? By how much did you reduce costs? A much clearer statement would read: “Led 10-person team to boost sales by 160% in six months while cutting overhead expenditures by 38%.”
#2: Highlight your success at the top.
The top third of your first page is your resume’s most valuable real estate. Don’t waste this space on a lengthy mission statement and bury your best stuff towards the bottom – your reader may never get there! For easy reading, bullet out your top three to five achievements in a profile or qualification summary.
#3: Customize for the job opening.
Your resume is the first opportunity you have to differentiate yourself from the competition. Customize every resume to clearly target the specific position to which you are applying. Include key words from the job posting (as appropriate) and re-order your bullets to highlight experience that is most applicable to the job.
While your interview will ultimately determine if you are offered a job or not, your resume is the first step in getting hired. Make sure it helps get you in the door.
Have you recently re-done your resume? What tips for resumes did you find most helpful?