A vast majority of resumes are missing the mark …
The resume is the only real window to show a hiring manager what we are REALLY all about. We get 1-2 pages to describe our entire career, show what makes us different, and illustrate all of this in punchy one-liners. A vast majority of resumes miss the mark. Why? Writing and branding our work is essentially advertising. And unless we have a background in advertising, it is REALLY hard to dig deep and come up with what makes us REALLY who we are.
Lets dig in to 3 common resume problems with practical solutions to help BOOST your resume:
1) Formatting Issues
In my days of recruiting and reviewing resumes, my biggest frustration was an unformatted or unedited resume. I am talking about the details on font, bolding, font size, and these details do matter. This is the first impression and there are some easy ways to double check formatting.
- Use one font on your resume.
- Use consistent formatting. If you BOLD your job title, do this for all job titles listed on your resume.
- Have a friend help you point out any formatting errors or ideas to improve.
2) Action Words Don’t Match Your Level
The words you pick on your resume might be UNDER-representing your actual role and work experiences. As we progress in our career, it becomes critical to update our resume to BEST reflect our expanding skills, experiences and accomplishments. Try to avoid starting with collaborate or coordinate. Those words are vague in describing your specific role. Use stronger words that describe your role in leading, directing, managing, and preparing. For example, in a support role you can use words that clearly describe your role like analyzed, organized, and prepared.
- Look for clues in job descriptions that align with your scope of work. This will help you find the right level words to use on your resume. You will get a big BOOST when you align words on your resume that really accurately advertise what you do in your current position.
- Use these two resources to upgrade your action words:
3) Lacking Accomplishments with #’s
The founder of Talent Rocket, Chris Platts, says that your resume is really there to facilitate a great discussion in the interview. When your resume is packed with accomplishments, your resume illustrates what you have done & what you can do in your next role. Your accomplishments make you different from other candidates. In order to land interviews, you MUST create a strong advertising campaign using accomplishments with #s. #’s can include survey results, scope of work, size of team, sales $, % to goal, and impact of project on how many people.
The BOOST opportunity is to showcase your BEST stuff … not all the stuff.
- Each item listed under a position starts with an action word. Then list something you did with the result/impact to the team/business. In the interview, you discuss the HOW.
Spearheaded the ____________, resulting in ________________
Led ____________, which improved/increased _______________.
- Complete this exercise below:
You have three minutes: start jotting down your accomplishments for your most recent position. Write down any accomplishment, contribution or achievement that comes to mind, even if it seems insignificant. Do this for all of your positions – 3-5 minutes each.
- Where do you get recognition for boss/peers (formal awards, performance reviews, or even an e-mail thank you counts as recognition)
- When have you been asked to take on a special assignment?
- What are you known for?
Use your initial draft list of accomplishments, and start to create draft bullet points. After your initial draft within your resume, click save and revisit the list a day later. You now can do final wording and edits with a fresh set of eyes.
And, your now have given your resume a serious BOOST in a short time!
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Kara Smith is a talent development / HR leader and is the founder of the Soul of Work project: www.soulofwork.org, a think tank and not for profit learning lab. The mission & intention of the Soul of Work project is to bring best practices, tools, and practical insights from thought leaders to help professionals get hired, build more sustainable economic fulfillment in both work & life, and do their best work. As part of this mission, the Soul of Work project is dedicated to actively fundraise and donate to aligned non-profit organizations. Learn more here: www.soulofwork.org/giving. Kara is a working mother who believes we do our BEST work when we align work with our life.