Although this post is geared toward job seekers, I believe that everyone would benefit from a resume redo once a year. Whether you are looking for a job or are content in your current position, it’s always a good idea to go through the exercise of writing your resume. Why? Because it’s important to you have a clear understanding of what you have to offer, what your expertise is, what successes need to be highlighted, and how to best represent yourself to others.
In reworking your resume think of yourself as the Product. And if that’s the case then your resume, along with your collateral materials, have to reflect your product’s personal brand. Gone are the days when your resume used words such as:
- responsible for
Instead, your resume should be much more focused on your major accomplishments and the value you add for your employer. It should be skills focused and success oriented with quantitative results used whenever possible that demonstrate your impact on revenue generation, cost reduction, team building, problem solving, and relationship building.
Hard skills (years of experience, education) are what get you in the game. It’s the soft skills (accomplishments, how you work) that provide the differentiating factors when decisions are made between who to bring in for an interview and which resumes to delete.
Think of how you can “show” rather than “tell” your story. For example, if you led a team through a particular project, rather than state that you led a team on Project A, start with the result, the impact, and the benefit to your company.
A strong resume speaks to an employer’s needs and demonstrates how you can help them.
When putting together your branded resume, try to answer the following questions:
- What are my assets? Hard and soft skills, job and life experiences, education, extra-curriculars.
- What are my greatest successes? Quantitative examples should be used here to validate.
- How am I different/better than my competitors? For example: language skills, international experience, awards, promotions, education.
- What do I bring to the job/company that is unique? Brainstorm with others: co-workers, coach, managers, mentors.
- What are the prospective employer’s greatest needs and how does what I offer help them? This is a great place to “show” by using examples.
- What weaknesses or shortcomings do I have that might prevent me from getting the interview/job? How can I ameliorate them?
Your resume should be geared to the particular job for which you are applying. The more tailored your resume, the more time you spend customizing it, the better your chances at getting that call you’re waiting for.