I am constantly approached for advice on how to construct a “Winning Resume” by unemployed job seekers, people who are currently employed and looking to advance their career, and by established and aspiring resume writers; and without knowing them personally I am hesitant to offer specific advice.
However, upon reflection for this week’s post, I’ve come up with some ubiquitous rules I feel apply to professional resume writers and individuals writing their own resumes at all levels and stages in their career.
So here are my “6-P’s of Writing A Great Resume.”
PASSION: Passion, both externally and internally, is a must to achieve a great resume. Before beginning the writing process the writer (you or the professional you hire) must be passionate about the project. It can’t be looked upon as just another writing assignment, there must be an inner drive that the finished product is going to be the best resume possible and that the writer will put everything he or she has into it and not stop until perfection is achieved. On the other hand, the writing within the resume must convey the candidate’s passion for their job and their passion to be the best at what they do. Of course this is easier said than done, but there are ways to convey passion and leave a positive impression in a resume.
PREPARED: After writing a few dozen resumes most professionals learn how to prepare for the task at hand, whereas most people who write their own resume are often at a disadvantage in this regard. To me being prepared to write a resume is a multi-layered process. Before the first keystroke the writer must know the following information: The profile of the ideal hire, exactly what the candidate has to offer, and what style and format is the best one to use to get the readers’ attention and make a professional impression on them. Only after you have this information in hand are you prepared to start writing.
PATIENCE: This is a most important factor in resume writing. As mentioned above, don’t rush into the writing process until you are fully prepared to begin; be thorough and meticulous in your preparation. You also need to have some patience in testing the resume to see if it is getting the desired results. Don’t go rushing off and making wholesale edits and changes if you’re not getting the response you anticipate right off the bat. Before blaming the resume I suggest you first evaluate how you are using the resume to see if major changes are appropriate in your job search approach before committing time and effort to make wholesale changes to the resume document itself.
POSITIONING: For me this is the crux of a great resume and it is the aspect of resume writing I personally spend quite a bit of time on. Every resume is as special and unique as its owner, and so is each job. A key factor in getting your resume to the top of the pile and for the reader to give it more than a perfunctory 10-15 second scan is knowing what information is vital, crucial and useful and positioning this information accordingly in the resume itself.
POIGNANT: This is the hardest aspects of resume writing. All too many resumes today (professionally or self written) are a collection of ‘been there – done that’ chock full of bland attempts at including bullet points that end with ‘resulting in blah blah blah…’ Although a resume is not an exercise in creative writing, it is definitely not an exercise in technical writing. In my opinion the goal of a resume writer is to be creative in the use of words and appearance, to poignantly tell a story that will influence the reader to judge you through your eyes rather than their own, and in so doing lead them to see what they desire to see while prompting them to reach out to you with a request for an interview.
PRECISION: This aspect of resume writing applies to both the information contained in the resume and to its presentation. The information you offer must be as precise as possible, especially when it comes to noting achievements and staying on point for the particular job/s you are applying for. If you oversell yourself it is likely to come back and bite you in the butt on a job interview and if you offer too broad a picture you open yourself up to coming across as overqualified. Precision is also of great importance in choosing the adjectives and achievements used in a resume and determining if you have offered the reader too much or too little information to determine how well you meet their need and stack up against the competition.
As always I am happy to critique U.S. resumes and LinkedIn pages at no cost. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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