The resume is not going away. This much we know, although for a few years that very thought was a topic of discussion.
What is happening is that the resume has become just one component of your search. Albeit a very important one – but in no means will your search be uplifted and transformed by addressing the resume only.
My current resume practice has shifted as well. Clients need a great resume but the heavy and overstocked resumes of 2010 are dead. Hiring managers are reading for only a few seconds – recruiters are giving your resume a 6-second scan. You had better make sure that you grab their attention!
So what do you need to know today? Here’s the deal:
1) Do keep paragraphs less than 3 lines and bullets less than 2. If necessary, add supporting detail in a secondary bullet.
2) Do organize information using keywords or subheaders.
3) Do keep your resume achievement oriented. Even if you spent a lot of time answering phones for your boss, that’s not going to get you the interview. Focus instead on the new filing system you implemented.
4) Do frontload the achievements and results delivered in the beginning of the bullet – Delivered a 40% productivity improvement by implementing streamlined processes and procedures. Recruiters read down the left side of the page. Leverage this by strategically placing info you want read first.
5) Do get a second and third eye on your resumes. Have them read for content and accuracy. Take their advice with a grain of salt, if they do not actively hire.
6) Do hire a professional if you are overwhelmed. I not only provide writing support to my clients, but also moral support and confidence-boosting insight.
7) Don’t expect to find a job simply by applying online. An average open posting receives 250 applications. Even great resumes get lost in the clutter.
8) Don’t rely on only the people you know. While the age-old adage remains true, you don’t know everyone so you need to expand “who you know”. The best way to do this? Cold networking. Put on your big girl / big boy pants and start reaching out to people that can actually help you get your foot in the door.
9) Don’t fixate on your resume. Yes — make changes if needed to meet the job posting, but no need to rewrite it every time.
Reach out today to learn more about my tactical job search coaching and resume creation services. Book a 15-min call today to find out how I can help!
The most often overlooked but incredibly effective tactic you are not using in your job search? Undoubtedly, it’s the cold networking email.
Wondering what people really mean when they talk about networking? You’re not alone. Most people just don’t know that many people!
So how do these networking ninjas do it? Simple! If they don’t have a connection, they create them. Sounds challenging right? It’s not. And you too can become a networking expert.
1. Hone in on your objective. Before you start sending out emails requesting informational meetings, be very clear on what you are trying to accomplish.
2. Create a target list. Know who you are emailing and why, and keep track. Nothing says “I’m totally disorganized” like accidentally asking the same person to connect twice.
3. Create a template that is to the point, light, and authentic. When asking someone for a few minutes of their time, you don’t need to tell them your life story. Create a 3 to 4 line email that quickly gets to the point.
4. Keep your ask low commitment. Do not ask strangers for lunch. I recommend requesting a 15-20 min phone call or offering to buy them a cup of coffee.
5. Don’t be scared to attach your resume! This will give your connection a frame of reference for the conversation. Make sure your resume is ready for prime time – error free, targeted, achievement-driven, and polished.
Just as the media world has evolved, so have resumes. We get our news from Facebook (unfortunately), Twitter, and all kinds of new digital sources. Increasingly, our consumption has shifted from reading long-form content like newspaper articles into shorter, more visual media.
Rather than fight a trend, work to capitalize on these changes by creating a resume that is not only powerfully written, but also grabs a readers attention through well-thought out design, strategically placed formatting elements, and a strong narrative style.
Your resume is your representation of your own personal brand in the hiring marketplace. It should grab the readers attention in the first few seconds with a strong, differentiated intro, then hold their attention throughout by leading with results and honing in on your key value add.
I work closely with my clients to understand thier unique selling points and then create resumes that consistently drive those home through achievements connected to the overall mission and vision of a company, demonstrated understanding of the impact on thier work from a big picture perspective.
The ATS is always a scary thing – understandably so – but my advice is keep in mind that you are writing to two different audience. The first – is the person. This is the resume with all the bells and whistles…charts and graphs as appropriate, color and other elements to create visual interest, and clean, well-written prose that clearly conveys your messaging. Secondary to that is the ATS resume. This resume should be stripped clean of formatting and saved as an ASCII or some other similar file format.
Trends in resumes are also constantly changing. I’m sure you’ve heard the old standby – even the President has a 1-page resume. A) I’m pretty sure that’s not true. B) Resumes are not one-size-fits-all. I’ve done 1-page resumes for executives and 2-page resumes for students. Format and content are not mutually exclusive. The strategy should be custom tailored to each candidate.
One cool thing happening for early career is the 2 column resume. This is most easily achieved with a table set-up and can be tricky to manage – best left to a pro! Also, I don’t love this format for more experienced candidates as the initial scan gives the impression of someone earlier on in their career.
What’s the best way to sift through all the often competing advice? Trust a professional! I’d love to connect and share insight about your unique situation. Reach out directly via 973.270.1777.
Most of my advice is around “how to’s”. How to write a resume. How to optimize LinkedIn. How to demonstrate your value to an employer. While all of this is very important, like anything else, the “how not to’s” can be equally as critical.
Don’t copy and paste your resume into your LinkedIn. Are they very similar? Absolutely! Are they exactly the same. Not really. LinkedIn is not as formal, hard hitting, or as private as your resume. By doing a blanket copy-paste you are exposing yourself to various issues. Your resume, by design, should be quantified like crazy – numbers used as much as possible to demonstrate your effectiveness. LinkedIn is not the place for these kinds of numbers. It feels different – show-ier and boastful – and can offend a current or potential employer who feels you are not discrete with proprietary data.
Don’t just rely on job boards. Sure, there is a place for job boards. Fill out a profile and post your resume to LinkedIn and Indeed. Career Builder if you must, and niche job boards if you are in an industry that warrants it. But please, if you are going to invest time and/or money in your resume, don’t just send it out using job boards. It’s a waste of time. You absolutely need to be networking, using LinkedIn, thinking and acting outside of the job board box if you want to stand out.
Don’t send standard form letters as thank yous. While you absolutely need to send a thank you letter. I don’t even offer thank you letters as a service to my clients! I feel so strongly that they should be written after the job interview and targeted around the actual content of my interview that I will not craft them before my clients as part of the resume writing process.
Don’t rely on the opinion of one person when writing your resume. Whether that person is a professional resume expert like myself or an HR director like your favorite aunt, it’s one person’s opinion. The effectiveness of the resume in many ways parallels the housing market. If your house is priced effectively and the market is efficient, the house will move. Our job market is currently relatively efficient. There are great opportunities out there and companies are hiring. If you are realistic in your expectations and have a resume that effectively showcases your value, anchored by quantifiable or demonstrable achievements, and you are working your network, it is very likely that doors will open.
Don’t forget to do your homework. If you have made it to the interview stage, it is up to you to close the deal. At the very least, Google the company, find the company page on LinkedIn, locate the person who is interviewing you on LinkedIn, read the website, and come up with a few conversation starter questions. Who are their competitors? What are the primary challenges faced by the person in this role? Is this a new position? You get the idea.
Wondering what I can do for your resume and your job search? I help my clients refine, quantify, and clearly communicate their value to potential employers. The modern resume needs to be eye-catching, concise, and powerful. There is no risk to reaching out and if you’re reading this post, you are probably struggling with an aspect of your search. Mention code 5DONTS to receive a free cover letter with your resume project. Let’s get started today!
Is there really a such thing as a perfect resume? Unfortunately, it’s not that simple; however, by keeping a few guidelines in mind you CAN create a branded, targeted resume that positions you for new opportunities!
Resumes need to be customized to your unique goals, objective, and value proposition.
The one-size-fits-all approach runs the risk of making you look like a jack-of-all-trades but master of none. If you don’t have a specific field or position to target, you can still focus your resume by honing in on key transferable skills and utilizing quantifiable metrics to demonstrate mastery.
Here’s the challenge though. Even a professionally written, amazing resume may not get your foot in the door for career pivot opportunities on its own. You still need to do some networking work on your end to crack the door open.
Think of your resume as the door stop you jam into the slightly ajar opening.
Don’t think you have a network? Think again. Everyone you know is part of your network. Just because you are shy or introverted doesn’t mean you can’t start networking like a boss.
In fact, sometimes the more passive approach works in your favor. People who know and love you are excited to be able to finally help you with something because you have never asked them before!
Ok. Back to the “perfect resume”. My team and I create amazingly branded resumes that boost your confidence and pique the interest of hiring managers to get your phone ringing. As a professional resume writer, what I do for my clients is three-fold.
1) Understand your strengths
2) Qualify & quantify your achievements
3) Demonstrate your emotional intelligence in addition to subject matter expertise
Interested in learning more? Contact me to set up a consultation and mention promo code PERFECTRESUME for a free cover letter with your resume order!
Short answer but here’s the deal. Resumes are a marketing piece. Your personal brand showcase.
When you love see a Nike ad, does it lead with a statement about how the sneakers want to run?
Just like a commercial is designed to make you want to buy what the seller is selling, your resume should be designed to make a hiring manager want to talk to you!
An objective is a needy statement that can be clearly conveyed through the unique presentation of skills and experience that you set forth in your resume.
The first section of your resume should be a well thought out profile, one that brands you and aligns with the type of position you are seeking. If you are looking for that next step in your career, this is the place to put yourself out there as the perfect candidate for that next step role.
As you think about the best way to showcase what you have to offer, think about the functional capabilities that will attract the hiring manager, such as building and leading a team or social media marketing, and then come up with a few quantifiable achievements that represent your expertise in those areas. Create a mini highlight section with bold or keyword headers to really draw attention to those areas.
Don’t think you have accomplishments to share? It can be a little challenging if you aren’t in a field such as sales or operations where everything is goal-/metric-driven, or in a company that doesn’t really measure performance.
Try to put yourself on the other side of the desk – come up with some examples of how you solved a problem for your team, your customers, your boss, or your company. Include details that indicate scope and showcase how you left a department or issue in better shape than you found it.
For inspiration, search through your emails! Another great source is your performance evaluations if you have them.
Resumes are not as cold and boring as they once were. Don’t be afraid to show some personality with color, a quote from a happy customer or a supervisor, or a graphic that visually demonstrates your accomplishments. Just remember to keep it clean and professional. Also keep in mind that any images or text boxes are skipped by ATS so any content here should be repeated elsewhere. One trick I use is to type the text underneath the image so it’s scannable.
Your resume is an investment in your future and often your one shot to make a great impression. If you are struggling or feel like your resume just doesn’t do you justice, it’s probably not! It’s hard to talk about yourself and objectively identify your strengths.
When I work with my clients, I learn about their goals and careers to tell their story in a very clear and professional manner through their career marketing collateral. Think of me as your career ninja – a detective that uncovers and promotes your personal brand!
Let’s get started on your resume today. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more.