Career coaching is part of what I do. Fascinated by personal branding and how to utilize it for job search, I’m continually asked for my advice about resumes, interviews, applying for jobs. Now there’s a lot of information out there, but people still need to know how to make use of it, and how to personalize it for their own specific needs.
One kind of resume may work for someone, but be altogether off track for someone else. Most of the time a chronological resume is preferred by recruiters because it displays your work background in an organized chronological fashion. They don’t have to wonder what you were doing three years ago, they can see it. For some field, however, it might not be the best approach. If you’ve had a business consulting for many years, you may want to mention some of the key projects and accomplishments, and the types of clients you’ve consulted with.
A resume is meant to tell a story about you, not give the reader too much, but at least be a logical presentation of your background that’s compelling. The key word there is compelling. You want the recruiter or headhunter to read every word like it was the latest thriller. The only way to do that is to keep it concise, giving bulleted accomplishments, or the results of your work, under each job listing.
Don’t allow your resume to be a simple list of tasks, that’s way too boring to catch anyone’s attention. Most people start out that way. They show you their resume very proud that they have captured everything they did, but I’m not looking for a job description. I’m looking to see what the results are of your work. Did you increase sales? Did you save money? Did you achieve world peace? Ok, only kidding on that last one, but you’re getting the idea. I know that if you are a marketing person you are going to create the sales report, what is the result of that report?
Now there’s theory of resumes that encourages you to put buzzwords from your field in order to get through the automated applicant tracking systems. Certain words will get you noticed by the system which means your resume will get in the right pile. That’s all well and good, but the resume at some point will be read by a human being and it should make sense, not just be a list of jargon. There are places to include competencies, just make sure your resume is also telling the story of you, your unique skillset and experiences and not just a laundry list of meaningless buzzwords.
I know you just want to get the resume writing over, but to tell the truth, you need to suffer over it a little. Work on the words you use, do the research about the skillsets in demand for your field, and most of all, make sure that every single bulleted accomplishment is engaging, making me feel like I have to hire you tomorrow. You are the best author of your own resume; make sure it tells your unique story to the best of your ability in a way that others can relate to. It’s a key element of your personal brand.