Writing a Great Resume
Writing a Great Resume
Believe it or not, there's an art to writing a great resume. Resumes (CV's) and online profiles are a critical part of finding new job opportunities, consulting engagements, project-based work and securing loans, financing, and partnerships when starting a new venture.
Today, the resume is a powerful marketing document, an insightful, factual informational that sells and markets your skills, experience, and talent differentiators. Resume development is also a very important part of the job search and exploration process. This is why I always encourage people to write their own resume and to spend the time needed to perfect the language, positioning, and tone as their careers develop. Think of your resume as a ‘living document’ that never stays stagnant and is constantly evolving. As you grow and develop new skills so should your resume.
It’s going to be hard to cover everything you need to know about writing a great resume in a single article. Today we’ll start by covering a high-level overview of how to get started. What you need to consider and how to position your resume for your intended audience.
Why Are Resumes So Important?
Your resume and online profiles are your first impression and the first thing a potential hiring manager or employer will see when considering your background. You rarely get a second chance to make a first impression, therefore it's important to make it count. Develop a resume that accurately reflects who you are, what you’re able to accomplish and why you should be hired.
Your resume and online profile make you searchable and accessible to prospective employers. This is why you’re being found on searches, getting recruited and why a recruiter is willing to hunt you down to present potential career opportunities. Incorporating keywords and relevant industry terms and functions will greatly elevate your searchability on search engines, applicant tracking systems (ATS), and within closed online networks.
Three things to consider:
1. Your resume is not a job description - resumes that read like a job description are a disservice to yourself and your audience. If you’re a Digital Marketing Specialist and you list your responsibilities for example, responsible for social media, SEO and SEM. This will not be as impactful as for instance, ‘led the redevelopment and growth of social media by X% and optimized SEO/SEM onsite conversions by X%’. It’s pretty obvious in this example who the client is going to call first, the one with meaningful information that goes beyond responsibilities and touches on achievements and successes in measurable and quantifiable terms.
2. The format and style of your resume are just as important as content. This might seem unimportant but when you review hundreds of resumes a day the ones that stand out are the ones that have put in considerable effort into formatting and style. This is a double-edged sword, it’s all about balance and staying within acceptable industry resume norms. Resumes in a horizontal format are not going to win you higher consideration from a hiring manager. Further, a resume with too many colours or uneven columns or images and icons may not convey the professionalism you intend. Of course, there are always exceptions, if you’re in a creative industry or role where there is an implied expectation that you’ll spend a bit more effort in style, typography and font choices and of course include a compelling portfolio.
3. Know your audience, this will be the constant while developing a resume. In addition, understanding who you want this resume to resonate to is critical to the resumes' success. Understanding your audience will help you speak the language and terminology of your audience effectively. Make sure you understand and develop a style and format that will be appreciated. Part of the consideration process will also include cross-functional departments so it’s important that your resume is also accessible to other key stakeholders in the process such as human resources.
Nothing excites a hiring manager, recruiter or HR more than a great resume. I’ve seen clients get so excited about a resume they are ready to make an offer, it’s that powerful! Of course, the resume is just the start but having a great resume will surely give you the head start you want when looking for a new role.