You may hate writing a resume as much as I hate blogging. Want to switch? I’ll write your resume, you write my blog? No? Okay, I’ll proceed.
It’s funny, because I used to love blogging, and I even got paid for it for a while … when I can write for other people, I love it. When I have to write for my own work, it perpetually gets put on the bottom of the list. Do you see the same trends when you sit down to write your own resume?
You know you should update your resume with each new job or role.
You know you shouldn’t wait until you find a job posting to get your act together.
You know a well-written resume can get you places.
So… why haven’t you don’t it yet? I get it … believe me (remember… blogging). Let’s get you motivated to write yourself a killer resume!
Don’t Use A Resume Template
I know it’s tempting – you see those Word document templates and think ‘done.’ NOPE. Please for the love of all things holy, don’t use a template. Do you want to look like a template? You’re an amazing person and you deserve more than a damn template!
Now, depending on your industry, you can have some (careful) fun with your resume. If you’re in a creative industry, you can add color, maybe a graphic or two. While the financial industry does tend to be more traditional, you have ample opportunity to add a graph or chart.
If you do want a starting off point (that's not a Word template), you can look online and get an idea what the professionals are doing. Look at samples, gather ideas and get working. Or visit your local bookstore and library to pick up a couple resume books ... they're there to help you! And they're written by professional resume writers who have years of experience in the industry. They know what they're talking about.
Write CAR Stories
While you’re welcome to share about your personal car (wait, actually, no, don’t do that), you can share another type of CAR story that will be of immense value on your resume.
Challenge | Action | Result
Regardless of your experience, chances are you faced a challenge, performed an action and experienced the result in the work place.
For instance, my challenge is that I really dislike blogging. My action was that I sucked it up, did what was hard, and strove to blog twice a week. The result is that I saw an increase in my business after 3 months of consistency, and I have found my blogging voice and actually enjoy the process now.
While that’s kind of a silly one (and possibly not true... yet), yours may be a bit more serious:
Challenge: Inconsistency between department expense reporting.
Action: Developed a SharePoint module that standardized the process across the company.
Result: Saved 20 hours of weekly admin time across the company, resulting in higher role productivity.
On your resume, you can write:
Developed custom SharePoint module to create consistency across the company to standardize expense reporting, saving more than 20 administrative hours a week.
You’re sharing your contributions in a way that’s clear, concise, and more importantly, showcases your work. Think of a couple of those for each position you've held.
With all this amazing technology we have, you can bet the HR industry is at the forefront. In other words, your resume will not be initially screened by human eyes … that’s right, you have to go through a computer first.
So a keyword in resume writing is well… keywords. USE THEM! Look at the job descriptions you’re applying to and scour it for keywords. How do you know what they are? Here’s a hint: they’re used more than once in the description. They are the aspects of the job that are essential.
Don’t You Dare Put Anything On Your Resumes Referring to References
Want to waste space? Put something about references at the bottom of your resume. Listen, it’s not needed. A recruiter won’t be calling anyone before they meet you. And if you get to the references phase, you’ll have a custom and branded references page available. (See my next point.)
What if you had given your permission to be a reference for someone, and found out they listed your name and number on their resume, and then sent it out to 200 random companies? Yeah, I wouldn’t like that either. So, don’t do it to your references! Respect their generosity ... and save the much needed space on your resume.
But Do Have A Branded Reference Page for Your Interview
I’ll touch on this is in another post, but your resume isn’t the only document you need to create when job searching. A cover letter, references page, and thank you letter are the bare minimum of what you should be drafting.
The cover letter and resume will be customized before you send your documents. Yes a customized cover letter and resume for every.single.job.you.apply.for. The thank you letter is for after an interview (customized to the conversation). And your references page is when you’re at the final stage and your potential employer is now looking at your references.
Hire A Professional Resume Writer
Okay, okay, I know. This would be the easiest way for you to get a killer resume. But if you want to do it on your own, I’m 100% behind that. I can even help you there (scroll to the bottom of that page for my DIY package).
But in all honesty if your resume is getting pushed to the bottom of your list, or you’re missing out on opportunities because you can’t pull it together … maybe it’s time. Or if you can't seem to package your awesomeness into two streamlined pages, then it's definitely time.
Regardless of whether you write your own resume or hire a professional resume writer, it's important to be involved in the process. Research what great resumes look like and what they should contain. Be prepared to show yourself off ... you're going to have to talk about yourself. Do it with confidence and character ... it'll shine through on your resume.