If you are after a six-figure income for the New Year, the best way to get started is with a revamped resume.
Now, there is a ton of information online. Much of it wrong, (e.g. telling you, you must have a chronological format, stuff the resume with key words for applicant tracking systems, or there is some mandated page length), or it is clichéd and won’t help you stand apart from the hundreds of other job applicants.
So in no particular order, I want to share the best practices in resume writing utilised by the Certified Master Resume Writers, to help you launch a successful end-of-year job search campaign.
Story Telling is at the Core of a Modern Resume
Story telling is about telling the full picture, to show how you contributed to the bottom line of a company or organisation. As soon as you start talking about the problems you encountered and solved; the increase in profits that are directly the result of your actions; the boost in your team morale; the size of the budgets you monitored successfully; or the impact that you had on your area of responsibility, you have created the background story and the picture, of why, you are the best person for the job.
So often, professionals, managers and executives, get bogged down in the list of duties and responsibilities, failing to articulate how their hard and soft skills impacted and benefited an organisation. If you fail to articulate this value, you are less likely to succeed in securing those top jobs.
Get the Formatting just Right
These days, I see two types of resume formats coming into my inbox. The first version is devoid of all colours and is formatted in a clumsy way, using basic MS Word formatting tools. The other extreme is resume formats with all the ‘bells and whistles’, with colours, text boxes, PDF files, the use of logos and other imagery.
The truth is, at both extremes you are putting your career at risk.
- The basic resume designs, will lower the time spent by recruiters reviewing your resume and will be considered below par (which could impact your candidacy).
- The extreme fancy resume versions will harm your score in an applicant tracking system (so you won’t get shortlisted by employers or recruiters).
Just like Goldilocks, you need to get the balance just right. You need to use the right formatting choices, which will increase readability and increase a reader’s attraction to your document. Keep your design clean, use some key design elements and use MS Word.
Keep the Profile Tight
Many moons ago, Objective Statements were all the rage. Then they were replaced by a Profile, providing a summary of what candidates offered. These profiles were often long and fluffy, containing lots of clichés, such as ‘highly driven’; ‘ results-orientated executive’; ‘excellent communicator’. Sound familiar?
These days, all the fluff and clichés have gone. Instead a profile is tight, with the main points conveyed in a few lines. Within a couple of sentences, you have to summarise to the reader, why you are the PERFECT candidate for the job.
Achievements (yes, some things don’t change)
Highlighting your achievements is critical, in particular for more senior positions. If you don’t have a long list of achievements in your resume, you need to start compiling a list, so these can be slotted into your resume. If you do nothing else, make sure your resume contains a list of achievements. This is what is going to set you apart from others.