Writing a resume is difficult. I was asked to write a resume for a Round Table I spoke at and I froze -- I hadn’t written a resume in years! I had to go back to the advice I give and crack down and start from the beginning. It was tough to capture what I do on paper, especially 17+ years of what I’ve done. I get asked almost daily for help with resumes so here goes my attempt at putting it all in one place. This info is still in development and will be added too and changed as needed.
At the Beginning - The Plug and Play List
Start writing at the beginning, your first job. Write a historical document of everything you’ve done. Yes, everything to quote myself, “Barf it all out.” Part of an easy job search is to develop a document to use with your resume. This plug and play list will have all your accomplishments and all of your skill sets. Use this document as a brain storming document. Do not publish this document or send it to a company - EVER.
This is a working document not one you will share with a potential employer. Mostly, this document is strictly for convenience when you are styling your resume for your next job. Every job you apply for you must re-write your resume and highlight what is appropriate to the job. I call it putting a spin on it. If the company wants someone with SEC experience and you have it at the top you need to speak to their needs. It’s about highlighting not lying.
The Published Resume -
Do not write in 3rd person. Remember how we all learned that rule in High School? Stick with this basic grammar rule.
Keep your detailed job descriptions to the last 10 years. After that, just list the company names, your title and dates of employment. Or if you prefer, you can do a one page resume with just the last 10 years.
A two page resume is plenty of information about you for corporate America. There is a reason why companies conduct interviews – to get to know more about you. If you have a portfolio of work, most marketing people do, bring that to the interview.
Do not do a summary at the top use bullet points that you can change easily according to the job you are applying for.
Always explain what industry your company is in.
If you are comfortable listing some of your personal interests put something fun and true, for example –
· Member of the Surf Rider Foundation
· 10 year member of Gamma Phi Beta
· Pop Warner Football Coach
It gives us, the interviewer, something different to talk to you about besides all the rank and file information. But keep in mind, if your interests are unusual, like you eat only bugs, keep that to yourself.
No embellishments of your work record. List your accomplishments but do not indulge in any creative fictional accounts of your success. Don’t lie.
No stodgy boiler plate phrases.
No exaggerating the truth. If it was a team effort that is OK. You were part of a successful team.
Write in your own voice. Writing like you are someone else shows up in the interview. When we drill you down and get the – who, what, why where and when (5W’s) we can pick out all the truths and falsehoods.
Be prepared to go into detail about all your accomplishments. Again the 5W’s.
We like numbers -- Increased sales by 200%. Saved $70 million. Reduced overdue balances by 25%.
Social Networking and your resume -
If you are on Facebook/LinkedIn/Instagram etc. make sure what is on that site is appropriate for your future employer to view. This includes –
Your profile picture – you should be smiling or looking friendly.
Your profile picture – you should be smiling or looking friendly.
I prefer pictures of people out of suit and ties but still looking professional.
No beer/wine glasses, footballs, fishing equipment, kids, dogs etc. in the picture.
Don’t write in 3rd person it comes off stuffy or like your Executive Assistant or wife did the work for you.
If you don’t want recruiters checking out your Face Book page shut it down except for friends. So many people don’t realize their page is open and recruiters will happily cruise through them to see who you know.
Google yourself to see what pops up.
Keep your LinkedIn profile short without too many details. Why do this? So you can change your resume to high light/style/spin what the company wants without looking like you lied. You’re not lying – do not lie but you can highlight those things the company wants at the top and drop off what they don’t need. Bottom line if you’re profiles on LinkedIn, Face Book etc. don’t all match up we think you are lying or at least hiding something.
Don’t put an extended very detailed resume on LinkedIn. You want to be able to change and highlight your skills depending on the job you are looking at.
Put your home city, email address, phone and cell on your resume.
Make sure each page of your resume has a footer with your name, email address and phone number on it. Recruiters and HR people have occasionally been known to lose the first page of a resume and it’s usually the perfect candidates resume. So then we have to search endlessly through our email for it. Yes, oops, we occasionally make mistakes.
Your resume should look like you. If you are a formal person or in a formal industry your resume should look and read formal. If you’re in a hip/cool/tech industry your resume should look hip and cool. A VP of Sales resume should look nothing like nor read like a CFO resume.
Keep your resume format simple and do not use Times Roman type face. It’s a great type face but everyone uses it. You want to look a bit different from everyone else.
Don’t use a MS Office template for your resume. You can riff off it and borrow what you like but you want to look like you not Bob 4 cubicles down. If you have a friend who is in marketing or a graphic artist have them help you make the resume stand out and look cool. Make sure it’s not over the top in creativity unless you’re looking for a graphic artist job.
Not feeling creative about your resume format and don’t know anyone in marketing or graphics? Cruise through your friends resumes on LinkedIn and see what they are doing. Pick one you like and improvise upon it. You can also check on Monster for good resumes you like – just make it your own format. The easiest fix it so change the font.
If you had five different titles under one employer put the employer, your current title and the total dates of employment at the top. Below the company name, preferably indented, break out the titles and the dates of each of your jobs. For example –
COMPANY – 1885 – 2012
What the company does
VP Sales, dates
Add what you did here
Sales Director, dates
Add what you did here.
Sales Manager, dates
Sr. Sales, dates
Office salve, dates
COMPANY 1880 – 1885
It’s a simple and easy way to clearly show your work history.
References – don’t put them on the resume or give them unless asked. Don’t give friends or non-work related references unless asked.