Creating Resume Content
Duties & Skills – Before writing your resume, I recommend carefully listing all of the duties and skills that make up each job, which should include tasks, tools, software, etc. After compiling a robust list of tasks, taking nothing for granted, sort them into categories. Once organized, you can utilize this information to craft an introduction or summary paragraph. This exercise can also be helpful in preparing for the interview.
Helpful Hint: Search for job descriptions online that relate to your experience and skills. Use the job descriptions to see what employers are seeking. This will help you recognize skills and talents that you may otherwise overlook or take for granted.
Accomplishments – This is where most people fail to connect. While a job is mostly comprised of duties and tasks, there is a purpose in performing those duties and tasks. Demonstrating that you can add value and find ways to improve the business is critical if you want to differentiate yourself from other job seekers. Using percentages and figures is an ideal way to demonstrate your impact to the business. Additionally, using action words such as improved, saved, streamlined, enhanced, implemented, created, designed, etc. is a great way to show how you make a difference. As recruiters and hiring managers will skim your resume, these are the types of facts and figures that they will look for.
Formatting Your Resume
Thanks to the internet, your resume is likely competing against hundreds of others. Now that you have a good understanding of how to craft your resume and its content, now it is time to organize and present the information in a way that makes it easy to read and understand (i.e. pleasing to the eye). Below are some formatting tips:
- Don’t clutter your resume with the use of too many fonts & styles (i.e. capital letters, font types, font sizes, underlining, bolding, etc.). Clean and simple is better.
- Bullets make it easier to scan for key information, so avoid using paragraph format.
- Chronological resumes work best, but if your work history is choppy a functional format may be better.
- Effective use of your margins will create the real estate needed to present your information and keep the resume from exceeding an acceptable length.
Common Resume Myths
My resume should only be one page – This may have been true at some point in time, but today we are accustomed to having mountains of information at our fingertips. The real key is providing sufficient information without going overboard. For job seekers with experience, one page is probably insufficient, but be careful about exceeding two pages. Too much information may result in getting put into the wrong stack.
One resume can do it all – In today’s competitive marketplace employers are cross-training employees to help maximize their contribution to the company. This likely means you have amassed a pretty diverse set of skills. More than likely your diverse experiences afford you the requisite training to do more than one type of job. That said, you may need to tweak your resume to ensure you adequately speak to the requirements listed in the job description.
I only need to present my most recent 10 years of employment. – While this is true to some extent, it is possible that this school of thought may conceal information. The last thing you want to do is refrain information that could be key to helping get an employer’s attention. Use your common sense when crafting your resume.