More and more career advisers are bemoaning the practice of revising one’s resume to death. Leave it alone once you’re happy with it, we advise. That can be a Catch 22 for those of you who are never happy with your resume. The point is some of you are putting too much effort in perfecting your resume and not enough at seeing the whole picture.
I’ve been helping a customer with his resume. It was originally a sound resume but weak in certain areas. He lacked a branding title, so I suggested he use the same title he uses on his LinkedIn profile. I also suggested he quantify his results. Mission accomplished.
Shortly after our meeting, he told me he would send me his “next” revision in a few days. In addition to the changes I suggested, he said he prettied it up a bit. They were aesthetic changes that probably wouldn’t play a big role in garnering him an interview. He is suffering from resume obsession.
While aesthetics are nice, your resume needs to be much more impactful than pretty font, interesting layout, unique bullet points, etc. Here are five general rules about putting your resume to best use.
Yes, a powerful resume is necessary. A resume should lead with a strong branding headline to capture the employers’ attention, tell them who you are and what you’re capable of doing for them. This is where you first introduce the job-related keywords.
Follow your title with a concise, yet grabbing professional profile. All too often I see profiles with lofty adjectives that have no meaning unless they’re backed up with examples.
The work history must demonstrate accomplishments that are quantified. Employers are looking for numbers, percentages, and dollar signs. Having accomplished this, along with an education section, your resume is ready to go.
It’s only one part of your written communications. Let’s not forget a well-written cover letter that grabs the employers’ attention with the first sentence. Forget the tired, “I was excited to read on Monster.com of the project manager position at (company). Please find below my accomplishments and history that make me a great fit for this job.”
You have to show the employer you’re the right person for the job. This includes highlighting job-related skills and mentioning a couple of accomplishments. Like your resume, the cover letter is tailored to each job.
Knowing your audience is key. Knowing who you’re sending your resume and cover letter to is essential to your written communications campaign. Some of my customers are shocked when I tell them that they need to send their information to the hiring manager and Human Resources.
Further, they grapple with the idea of writing different verbiage for each audience. Whereas HR might be focused on determining that you meet the basic requirements, the hiring manager might want to know more about how you increased revenue by expanding territory in rural areas through utilizing a training program you developed. Net result, $249,000.
How you distribute it. It doesn’t end with hitting “Submit.” You can’t sit back and wait for recruiters and HR to call you for a telephone interview. Some believe that sending out five resumes a day is an accomplishment; yet they fail to follow up in a timely manner.
Worse yet, they don’t send their resume and cover letter to targeted companies. This involves networking face-to-face or via LinkedIn to determine who the right contact is at the company. Distribute your resume to the people that count, not individuals who are plucking your resume out from an Applicant Tracking System.
LinkedIn is part of it. Whether you like it or not, it’s time to get onboard with LinkedIn. Go to Meg Guiseppi’s, C-Level Executive Job Search Coach, website to read about the importance of being involved with online networking. Countless success stories of job seekers getting jobs are proof that employers are leaning more toward LinkedIn than the job boards. They’re enabling the Hidden Job Market (HJM), and it’s time for you to participate.
Your LinkedIn profile should mirror your resume (branding title, summary, work history, education) to a point. Each section on it will differ, plus there are applications and recommendations you can display on your profile that you couldn’t on your resume. There must be a harmonious marriage between the two.
And, like your resume, you must load your LinkedIn profile with keywords and phrases, and do it with frequency.
Fruitless pursuit. Trying to perfect your resume and neglecting the aforementioned steps needed to make it work, is similar to cleaning every snowflake from your steps and neglecting your entire walkway. A great resume is what you aspire to create; a perfect resume is not possible. Nothing’s perfect.
Bob McIntosh is a career trainer at the Career Center of Lowell, where he leads more than 20 workshops on the career search. He is often the person jobseekers and staff go to for advice on the job search. Bob has gained a reputation as the LinkedIn expert in and around the career center. As well, he critiques resumes and conducts mock interviews. Bob’s greatest pleasure is helping people find rewarding careers in a competitive job market. These he considers to be his greatest accomplishments. Please visit his blog and connect with him on LinkedIn.