It’s that time again – the advent of a new year. With that also comes New Year’s Resolutions (will we keep them this year?) and the obligatory New Year-themed blog post.
Its time for people to think about how they want to improve their lives either personally or professionally. This time-honored tradition of making a declaration of intent and then attempting to follow though with it in practice can be a source of inspiration and direction…or usually in my case, disappointment.
While we all accept that we may likely forget our resolutions by February, I’m going to give you a few that are achievable, and that you’ll WANT to keep.
Let’s talk about resolving to improve your resume. That super important ‘billboard’ of your professional career.
First, let’s think about a primary method for how people are recruited these days – LinkedIn. A robust LinkedIn profile is crucial for most professionals and that is another entire discussion, but lets leave with the takeaway that by the time you speak with a recruiter or hiring manager, they will know the basics of your work history: companies, job titles, tenure, education, location and some of your basic responsibilities. These should not be the focus of the content in your resume, however.
I’m going to save some of the more straightforward resume tips like not including an objective statement, using bullet points, elimination of grammatical errors, keep it to around 2 pages and focus on a few more impactful recommendations. (But I still mentioned them, didn’t I?)
- Highlight specific professional accomplishments. Whether it be successful project delivery, sales goal attainment, team building, etc. Prospective employers (and recruiters) want to see what you have actually done rather than a list of your day-to-day tasks and responsibilities.
- Reflect scale. It’s helpful to reflect the scale at which you have operated in each position. What I mean by that is showing how much budget you were responsible for, how many clients you managed, how large and how many deals you closed or how large of a technical environment did you operate in. This helps recruiters and hiring managers determine a point of reference for your skill set as it relates to scale.
- Highlight key career opportunities that reflect your previous employer’s recognition of your performance. Examples of this could include being tapped for a high-visibility project team, promotion into a new position with increased responsibility or winning company performance rewards. This is a great way to show your success without forcing the hiring manager to dig that out during an interview.
- Be succinct and direct in your language. Each bullet shouldn’t take up more than 2 lines and you want to choose words that show action and reflect outcomes. Your ability to effectively communicate in written medium is being evaluated, even if subconsciously, by the person reading your resume so make sure to be thoughtful about how you craft your messaging.
- Customization. It can be effective to tailor your resume to the role you are considering. If there is a certain skill you possess or experience you have that the job is placing a premium on, then highlight that by expanding a bit on your current resume. It is common for people to have multiple versions of their resume to reflect different aspects of their skill set or experience.
Hopefully you will see the value in investing some time to polish up that resume in the coming year .And even if you are not looking for a new work opportunity, it can be helpful to leverage these tips to take stock in your current role. Good luck with your New Year’s resolutions while I try for the third year in a row to stop adding money to the swear jar.
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Thanks, David. This is good information. I passed it along to my social networks.
Very helpful, David! I’ll be sharing with all my friends and relatives that ask, “what should I put on my resume?” Thanks!
Very helpful, as even if one is not actively looking for a change, maintaining an updated resume (for whenever it may be needed in the future) is a must these days.
Great article. It made me look at my own LinkedIn profile 🙂
Hi David, thanks for sharing these bullets and now we need to execute them !
Definitely agree with #5 customizing is the best approach to prove to potential employers you have the right skill set to match the position and not just submitting another generic resume.
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