3 Fast-Track Resume Writing Shortcuts

On the receiving end of a recruiter’s call? Found a great job online, but it closes soon?

Your elation can quickly turn to panic, especially if you haven’t updated your resume in some time. You’ll want to maximize every minute, of course, while creating a document that makes it look as if you’ve spent weeks crafting each word.

Here are 3 shortcuts to reviewing and refreshing your resume – all in short order – to meet the demands of a choice job:

1 – Gather your thoughts.

Before your fingers hit the keyboard to start the resume writing process, take a step back.

Resumes are much more effective if they directly tie your experience to the job, so you’ll need to build your value proposition around this particular role. You can always create a newer version to fit a different job.

Use what you know about the potential opportunity to list the matching facts of your career, such as core competencies needed for success (aim for at least 10), or projects that align with the duties in the new role.

If possible, approach former co-workers or bosses to review your list for any omissions. Others can sometimes recall important initiatives that demonstrate skills for the new job.

If you’re stumped for examples of skills that fit your experience, use job board aggregator www.indeed.com to pull up similar postings. Reviewing several job descriptions can jog your memory and reinforce your belief that you have the right qualifications.

2 – Frame your success stories.

Now, make a list of your strongest career achievements – the ones that easily connect your work history to the role (representing career high points to be featured on the first page of your resume).

You’ll also need 3-5 major contributions for each of your past jobs, which will help fill out your professional experience section with valuable detail.

To add context for each achievement, think of the ways your employers have benefited from your work (usually cost savings, operations improvements, or revenue), and use these details to create a brief “story.”

Try to fit each accomplishment story into just 1-3 sentences, with brief details of the teams you’ve supervised, budgets managed, and projects that you’ve led.

Repeating this process for every contribution or success story will be the most intensive and challenging part of writing your resume. However, the effort will pay off with accurate, full-fledged descriptions of your ROI as a candidate.

3 – Tie it all together.

First, top off your new resume with a clear title or heading that represents the goal (Senior Sales Executive, CTO, Program Manager, etc.).

To save time, consider adding your top 4-5 skill competencies, plus a brand headline that describes how you use them – eliminating the need to write a full summary paragraph (similar to this sample resume for a Vice President of IT).

Next, add the remaining skills or competences from your original list into a table or grouping at the top of your resume.

Put the most prominent of your success stories into a short, first-page list, as shown in the “Technology Leadership Results” section of the same resume example, or the “Sales Performance Highlights” of this sample Sales resume.

Write your work history with a basic job description that introduces each role, including facts such as teams you’ve supervised, budgets managed, and other details. Add the remaining success stories in bullet-point sentence form for each position.

Don’t forget to sprinkle metrics throughout the resume that represent ROI to potential employers, focusing on results that you’ve facilitated. The more percentages or dollar amounts shown, the better your resume will illustrate the impact of your work.

Tie up all loose ends with sections such as Education, Certifications, Professional Memberships, and other facts – then turn your new resume over to someone else for a quick proofing.

Now, you’re ready to send it off for that coveted job posting, or to an interested recruiter.

However, you’ll want to review it from time to time, ensuring that key information is added. This way, you can continually enhance the already-compelling story of your credentials – and avoid the rush during your next job search.

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