With the start of the new year, there are a lot of resume writing suggestions and tips floating out there in the blogosphere. I want to do what I can to pull some of that together here for your edificaion – along with some of my own tips, of course.
First, this caveat – the more things change, the more things stay the same.
Let’s understand this about your resume. Your resume is a collection of past performance. It is like “playing” the stocks. You read a prospectus before deciding on whether to invest in a particular stock or mutual fund because you want to see the past performance. But you understand that past performance is not necessarily – or not at all – indicative of future performance.
Your resume is your prospectus. In your case, you absolutely do want your potential employer to infer that you will do great because you have done great in the past. And what you absolutely do not want is to leave it to the employer to infer this. You want to guide the process.
You want to tell the story
Kevin Grossman does a great in conveying that very point in his article, Tell A Story, Keep It Real & Make Your Business Case:
For starters, do you know that section in your LinkedIn profile titled “Summary”? That’s an opportunity for you to do more than just say I’ve done blah, blah and blah, because that’s one of the first things folks scan when they’re looking at your profile, besides your picture. (And yes, it could be your “summary” atop your resume, if you insist.)
Use the professional “Summary” sections across all your online networks to immediately highlight:
- Your career objective/s and/or what you love to do.
- How your previous and current experience validates your career objective/s.
- Your results and accomplishments and how they could benefit a future employer, partner and/or investor (hey, you never know) even if you’re not “in the market.”
- Your personal interests and how those round out your world as well as for a future employer, partner and/or investor.
I’m working on mine even as I write this article. Write economically but make sure not to be too vague; specificity and the right keywords are critical for you to be found and get read. Use your voice and keep it real.
It’s really a never-ending story, one that you should review and revise regularly at least every few months to ensure you’re making your business case.
Resumes do not really – in and of themselves – tell a good story. You can use summary statements, testimonials, and such as advocated by Kevin Donlin in his Guerrilla Resume program; but really all you can do is try and weave a common thread throughout your resume. And to a large extent, the potential employer has to spot or infer that theme.
You effectively set the stage by writing a great cover letter. A cover letter can provide context for your resume. Although a resume is basically a “me” document, a well written cover letter (like those created by Phil Baker’s One Click Cover Letter Software) can turn it into a “you” document as in you the hiring the manager. That’s big.
Cover letters are back
Like the “two page versus one page” debate, the subject of cover letters is heated. While some recruiters say they don’t bother looking at them, others say some job seekers have grown lazy and won’t take the time to write one or tailor one specifically to the company to which they are applying. It’s a perfect opportunity to sell yourself, and it’s where you can infuse personality into your application. But once you craft a terrific cover letter, don’t just push it out to every job prospect. Take the extra few minutes to tailor it to why you want that specific job at that specific company and why your skills would benefit the overall organization if hired.
Read more from Justin Thompson’s article, Resumes in 2012: What’s old, what’s new?
That’s your most important task in writing a resume. You want to tell a story. You want to guide the hiring manager or the reader along the process of inferring future success based on past accomplishments.
A good prospectus tells a story. It gives background. It gives context. It gives raw and specific data.
Your resume must tell a story. It must give background. It must give context. It must give raw and specific data.
A key to telling a good story will always be your cover letter and a great summary statement.
Oh and by the way, I’ve mentioned it before; but your summary statement is also like the executive summary you find preceding all business plans. Same thing here.
Good Luck, Hyo