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ou never know when having a great resume will come in handy, as they are incredibly useful tools. Your resume can go from average to amazing with a few straightforward procedures.
I’ve reviewed well over 1,000 resumes in my fifteen years of leadership. I find resumes to be fascinating, but I always see the same missed opportunities on them.
It’s important to think about the following five factors if you’re about to use your resume—for any purpose—or simply want to have a resume you’re proud of.
1. Instead of job descriptions, it should read like a list of accomplishments
How many resumes resemble job descriptions is shocking to me. They are merely a collection of the technical or functional elements of the jobs that individuals have held in the past. They discuss all the various duties that people carried out in prior positions.
Lists of accomplishments and descriptions of proudest moments are found on better resumes. These lists ought to be precise. The amount of money a company saved thanks to a process innovation or improvement, the number of people they assisted in getting promoted, or the percentage by which they outperformed their targets should all be disclosed to readers.
Readers of resumes are interested in learning not only your likelihood of success in the upcoming position or engagement but also your likelihood of being a superstar. We’ll start talking if your resume lists all the awards you’ve received, along with the reasons why, and describes how you revolutionized or transformed your division or department.
2. Be sure to tell your story in your resume.
Strong resumes convey to the reader the essence of the applicant, not just what they have accomplished but also who they are. We can depend on someone when we know who they are at their core. This is significant. Readers of resumes should have a clear understanding of the subject of the document. Throughout the resume, concepts, ideas, and recurring behaviours ought to be evident.
For instance, if you read my resume, you should notice several important themes: I have a serious pride in improving and changing things for the better, I am obsessed with leadership, I am passionate about developing talent, I care about others, I consistently deliver results, and I am a top performer. This is who I am, not what I do. I act in this way regardless of the environment, so I probably won’t fit well if the environment doesn’t value these things. When you hire me, you are fully aware of what you are purchasing.
How about your resume? Can you leave your reader with five succinct descriptions of how you’ll likely behave consistently? If not, I’d advise taking a break with a blank sheet of paper and making a list of all the qualities you exude and effervesce, then returning to the resume to see if those qualities actually jump out at you.
3. It needs to be very specific.
Being specific when discussing your prior successes or achievements is crucial. It’s very helpful to specify the specific results you’re talking about when you talk about delivering results. It’s useful to discuss the precise impact or benefit those changes had when you discuss implementing positive changes at work. It is essential to explain what the committee accomplished or how the project benefited the organization if you mention having led a committee or project.
The more concrete data and examples you can provide to demonstrate the precise impact of your contributions, the better. I read statements like “exceeded goals” all too frequently and ponder “by how much?” Being at 101% of the goal versus being at 201% of the goal are two different things. Too frequently, when I read the phrase “built relationships with clients,” I find myself wondering, “How?,” “What did that look like?,” or “So, what did that lead to?” In addition to the “what,” resumes should also include the “so what.” Always explain why what happened mattered to the reader in addition to what happened.
4. Discuss your private life.
Resumes are far too frequently one-dimensional. They only provide a list of professional information. It amazes me how frequently people who I’ve interviewed participate in the church choir on Sundays, devote a lot of time to volunteering for nonprofits, hold down positions on a few boards, participate in marathons and soccer leagues outside of work, and yet none of that is listed on their resume.
Why wouldn’t you tell people about the whole of you if your resume is the story of you? Employers adore hearing about your extracurricular activities because it demonstrates your ability to handle many moving parts and how busy, proactive, engaged, and involved you are. It conveys to the reader that you are a person who likes to take initiative, speak up, and make a difference, but far too many people don’t think this information is pertinent. Today’s employers prefer to work with whole, complete individuals, so include these types of accomplishments on your resume.
Regular updating is a great way to make sure your resume includes all of these things. If you go into your resume and update it twice a year, you’ll be able to see exactly what you’re accomplishing and remember all of your proudest successes. Too many people tell me they can’t recall the specifics of what they were doing at the time because they haven’t updated their resume in years because they haven’t really needed to. You won’t experience this if you frequently update your resume, regardless of whether you need to.