Since transforming resumes is a big part of my business, maybe it is a bit ironic that I don’t write many posts about resume writing. However, I had an opportunity at the Career Management Alliance conference last week in NOLA to hear a highly respected professional – Don Orlando, speak about “Powerful New Ways to Showcase Clients’ Value.” He focused a lot on how to improve resumes and what types of things to include. I was nodding the whole time! Much of what he shared is exactly the type of advice I give my clients and the strategies he suggested are very similar to the ones I use when I write resumes, so it seemed a perfect opportunity to actually blog about the resume itself!
First, Don reminded listeners that the resume is about the future, not the past! How often have I told my clients that very thing? It is very important to remember that demonstrating how you can be useful in the future – how you can solve the employer’s problems – will make the difference in helping you land a job. Don’t write a resume full of jargon from your past positions if that is not the same jargon your targeted employer understands or speaks. That is akin to ordering in French at a Chinese restaurant; you are unlikely to get the food you crave.
Don reminded us how important it is to illustrate how you solved problems and achieved results on the resume. He also noted that focusing on relative results – in context – is key. That is, if you improved sales by 15% in a downturn, when averages were in the negative numbers – say so! If you overcame obstacles to achieve a desired result – the reader wants to know! Focus on transferable skills without stifling yourself as a result of misdirected modesty. Don notes, the story is about the job seeker, not about the company.
Remember, having a great resume is one way to help you prepare to successfully network, interview and negotiate an offer, as Don remarked while I nodded…Yes! Having a great resume helps you bridge to your next job. I always say, “Show, don’t tell.” An action-packed, fully optimized resume is key.
I’ve written about how to evaluate your resume – how to look at your resume and decide if it is answering the key questions. Are you doing more than listing a bunch of “stuff” on your resume? In a competitive market, you must ensure that your materials are optimized to help get you to the next step. Take a good, long look at your materials. Are they a bridge or a roadblock to your targeted opportunity?
photo by Sandy Austin