Do you know what your resume should look like in today’s market? When was the last time your resume was updated? Is your resume ready to go when the perfect opportunity lands in your lap? Are you using an objective statement or the phrase ‘references upon request’ on your resume? Is your resume really yours or did you copy and paste the format from someone else?
It’s hard to take a step back from your resume. The resume you have spent time on, hours even,
perfecting. Your resume can become a personal and intimate document, a reflection of you. Hopefully,
a document that makes you feel proud of all the work you have accomplished. Your resume can also be
the bane of your existence, unsure of where to start and how to make your experience count. It can
become something you push further and further down on your to-do list because it is extremely time
intensive if left unattended for too long.
But is pride standing in your way of getting a fresh perspective? Is that blank resume stopping you from
applying to open positions, because “you will do it later”? Are you restricting yourself without even
knowing it? With such limited space on that precious paper, you need to make sure every inch counts so you can stand out and make it to the top of the pile. The goal of your resume is to get called in for an
interview and to make the hiring manager want to meet with you. Don’t sell yourself short; take all the
help you can get!
Here are 3 quick tips for updating the content on that resume of yours:
Objective – Be GONE!
Recruiters and hiring managers spend less than 5 minutes reading the top portion of your
resume. Don’t waste that space using an outdated “objective”. The same applies for the use of
the phrase “references upon request”. References are a given in today’s market. If a future
employer requires references, they will ask for it. Employers also know your objective is to get a
J-O-B. Instead of using an objective, focus on adding quantitative metrics throughout your
resume that you think will benefit the employer.
If deleting the objective makes you cry tears of sadness, do not fret, you can add a professional
summary under your contact information. The summary statement is best used for
professionals with years of experience but it can also help candidates tie together seemingly
unrelated experience with a set of key transferable skills; think entry-level or professionals
making a career change. Writing the summary statement is a good exercise to complete; as it
can help you prepare for the interview and answer the dreaded “Tell me about yourself”
question. Two for one!
An example of an experienced professional summary might be: 15+ years of B2B sales,
consistently a top performer exceeding sales goals and targets. Known for developing business,
prospecting and retaining customers, as well as identifying solutions to address client needs.
A recent college graduate entry-level professional summary might be: Client driven professional
known for calmly and quickly resolving client issues by leveraging years of retail experience.
Collaborative individual reflective of the four years spent playing collegiate team sports.
Answering the So-What?
The main reason people put off working on their resume is that it takes time. You need to read every word, every bullet and every phrase on your resume. Really read it. Read it out loud to a neighbor if you have to. When you are called in for the interview, you should know your resume inside and out. If you need to explain what a bullet point means instead of expanding upon it during the interview, it’s not clearly written. The interviewer should be able to ask “Can you tell me more about xyz and not “What does xyz even mean”?
Each bullet should clearly answer: “SO WHAT”? Why did you select that bullet point to
highlight? Does it highlight a skill that is listed in the job description you are applying to? Is this point something you are particularly good at? Most people select the right points to highlight but do not present them in the right way. Hiring managers and recruiters are busy, often looking at multiple resumes at the same time, don’t assume they will connect the dots and link your experience to what they require. Don’t just tell the reader you “Manage a portfolio”. Answer the “SO WHAT”? Why should the reader care you manage a portfolio? If you ask yourself that question after each point, your resume will stand out. Did you manage the portfolio successfully? Was this portfolio for clients? Was the portfolio for 5 people or was it a $5M portfolio? See where I am going here? Instead write, “Manage and develop expansion strategies for a $5M global client portfolio”. Answering the “SO WHAT”, helps the hiring manager learn more about you and it can clearly demonstrate your value-add to their company.
Remove Weightless Phrases:
Experienced, Dedicated, Skilled. While these are strong attributes to showcase, simply stating them is not worth the precious space on your paper. Lots of candidates will say they are dedicated, motivated and organized. How will you stand out from the crowd? Show the interviewer how you are experienced and dedicated. Instead of saying you have “strong execution skills”, you could write “Led a team of 15 people to develop, and execute a global rebranding strategy across the organization”. Instead of saying you are “extremely organized”, you could write, “Created and implemented a new vendor tracking system that organizes monthly invoices”. These detailed yet concise explanations will allow the interviewer to ask you more detailed questions and gain a better understanding of your skills. Your responses at the interview will be tailored to highlight your strengths and make you stand out from the competition and hopefully get an offer.
Written by Megan Senese of MKS Resume Services.
About MKS Resume Services:
Megan Senese is the founder of MKS Resume Services, with over 10 years of experience writing and
editing resumes, she is passionate about making your resume the best it can be. She has helped her
clients land dream jobs in government, insurance, legal, marketing & business development,
healthcare, nursing, pharmacy, IT, education, nonprofit and B2B sales. She also specializes in guiding
recent college graduates, parents returning to the workforce and even high school students who need
special direction creating their resumes for college applications.