Writing your résumé is one of the first and most difficult steps you will take in your job search. One of the toughest challenges in résumé writing is condensing all you want to say into a few, short sentences. But, in order to approach the task like the best of the résumé professionals, you’ll need to rethink the goals and rules of a résumé.
Don’t Focus on Your Responsibilities
A résumé is not your life story. The only thing you should include on your résumé is achievements. Think of it this way, anyone can do their job, but only a small percentage of the population can do their job well.
The best way to showcase that you did your job well is from your achievements. Strive to make your achievements quantifiable, meaning they can be measured. Your accomplishments should be specific to your former position but also valuable to your new employer.
It’s hard to see you were a “good team player” on your résumé unless you can say you “joined an under-performing team and helped that team beat production delivery dates by two weeks.”
Don’t feel pressure to put anything other than achievements on your résumé. Think of anything that isn’t an achievement as a waste of space. Because you don’t know what a hiring manager will look at first – and if you have 10 great achievements and three previous job descriptions, the hiring manager may only read those three lines and toss your résumé. Think big and remove non-achievement statements.
Think of Your Résumé as a Marketing Document
Your résumé doesn’t need to be a historical statement but, rather, a marketing document. The best marketing documents show the product in the very best light, which means using objective tactics to make you look great.
Here’s an example: You join a retail store that just launched a new product. The product, being new, has a multitude of problems and the company is forced to hire someone to handle customer questions and calls. You start fielding the calls, work quite a bit of overtime, and eventually increase customer service satisfaction by 10%.
When writing the résumé, market your ability to perform customer service, be flexible during company crises, and increase customer satisfaction. Notice how much more effective that is than simply saying you “answered phones for a retail company?”
Remember, marketing requires some creativity and thought. Although it is important to quantify your success, be sure not to exaggerate or lie during this process. You are marketable enough without needing to stretch the truth.
Don’t Give Everything Away
The point of a résumé is to get someone to call you. Although you want to show your best on a résumé, you don’t want to show it all.
Hopefully, your résumé is not the only chance you’ll have to sell yourself to a hiring manager. During an interview, you will have a much more in-depth opportunity to highlight your strengths, achievements, and goals.
Knowing this, only put your very best achievements on your résumé. Leave the hiring managers intrigued, with questions that still need to be answered. This is the perfect way to impress and snag that follow-up phone call.
Crafting the perfect résumé is not an overnight thing. Résumés should be updated and maintained throughout your career. Remember to focus on your greatest achievements, market yourself, and leave your audience wanting more, and you’ll be sure to land your next interview.