Writing your resume under pressure rather than keeping it updated can take a good career exercise and turn it into a stressful event. People often describe a love-hate relationship with their resume, loving the way it helps them generate attention from employers while disliking the process of structuring their content.
Resumes will continue to evolve as technology changes. However, the last few years have opened the doors to more creative formats. Even though your feelings about writing a resume can stall the process of keeping your information current, it is still an important step in your career development. Writing your resume benefits you more than you might realize. It is much deeper than just a marketing tool.
Going through the exercise of writing a resume helps you identify your most notable accomplishments that will come in handy when you need to talk about them during an interview or career discussions with your manager. Yet the need to hurry up and write a resume for the sake of job applications, unfortunately, lessens the significance of its value.
The truth is much easier just to start throwing information down than to think through the process of choosing your words carefully. A sign your resume could use a good review is when it fails to generate attention and is unclear in conveying who you are within 30 seconds or less.
The opportunities you could be missing are alarming when you take for granted that employers will read your resume just because you send it in for job applications.
Here are three areas to look for when reviewing your resume:
Use your accomplishments wisely. Listing every accomplishment in your career can overwhelm the reader. Too many accomplishments can have the same issue as too few. Both can lose the attention of the employer. A recent job candidate listed 11 accomplishments during his first three years with an employer. Being motivated is wonderful. However, when you need to sum up your career history in two pages or less, you need to seriously select your accomplishments.
To help you decide which accomplishment to use, first consider the job role and skills needed. Accomplishments without credible evidence to back them up resemble statements. Here is a good example of using a statement instead of an accomplishment, “Organized and managed inventory for a new warehouse.”
Put your accomplishments to the test. Use the “so what?” question at the end of each accomplishment. If you cannot answer the question with results, you are making a statement more than likely. For example, use “so what” on the statement, “Organized and managed inventory for a new warehouse.” Revised accomplishment: “Managed the reduction of stock (two million cases per month) by implementing a new inventory management system that supported business and improved customer service.”
Review your resume from an employer’s point of view. Generic resumes blasted out to every possible job posting are not as effective as those written to a specific audience. Tailor your resume to match the job you are seeking. Customizing your resume takes more time and effort. However, if you are serious about landing a job, your experience needs to speak to the employer.
While you might be tempted to overstate your results to gain a recruiter’s attention, it is a mistake that will cost you future interviews. Take an honest approach when listing your accomplishments. Exaggeration usually backfires and sends a negative perception from the start.
Most of all, getting your resume into shape requires an open mind knowing that your content will change to meet an employer’s needs. Leaving accomplishments out that are not relevant makes you a much stronger candidate and opens more doors of opportunity.
If you are working on your resume, don’t forget about all the resume benefits and resources available to Phi Kappa Phi members, including a free resume review through the ΦΚΦ Career Center and $100 off a Seeking Success resume writing package. Visit www.PhiKappaPhi.org/Career-Resources to learn more today!