Posted by: davidsandusky | May 9, 2008

Your Resume – The Magazine Advertisement Test

Creating the resume that gets noticed is a stressful task for many.  Why?

For most the challenge is in creating the documents from scratch or redoing outdated material.  For others, the challenge lies in hiding something (getting fired, gaps, career changes, no accomplishments, trouble with self promotion, etc.).  Regardless of the challenges at hand, many complain about getting lost in the shuffle or concern the reader does not “get it”. 

Let’s tackle all of this at the same time.  Assuming you have a general understanding of a common resume layout, let’s get right to the meat:

  • Get smart.  Read and learn a lot to increase your vocabulary – especially within your industry.  Highlight keywords that matter on your resume.  Seperate yourself.
  • Don’t write a job description – very common mistake!  List accomplishments and create a vision for future success the reader can get excited about.
  • Get to it.  No fluff.  With a well crafted paragraph up front highlighting why you are amazing and/or directing the future, limit the body of the resume to quick pointsIn your face facts and accomplishments.  
  • Your high school career counselor was right when she told you to keep the resume to one page – then.  Forget it now.  A page per decade works as long as what is documented is relevant.

Now that you have a draft, consider how you behave when flipping through a magazine in the waiting room at the dentist.  You are looking for something interesting and quickly pass anything that does not seem entertaining to pass the time.  Well, this is how the reader of your resume might be flipping through a stack (or virtual stack) of resumes.  With quick witted statements and highlighted key words strategically placed in the content of your resume, be sure the right message stands out in a quick scan.  Take that resume and hold it at a arms length in front of you.  What is the first thing you notice?  Is the first thing you noticed supported in your personal brand on the resume and in you?  

Once you have a resume that you are proud of and has passed the test of your non-yes man friends, consider a few other drafts that may highlight different disciplines or industry experience.  In other words, have multiple resumes.  Save them with your name and a key word.

Finally, use this document as part of your strategic career plan.  Hold yourself accountable to updating your resume every six months.  Now your are always ready when contacted to consider opportunities, and, here is the important part – you are responsible for accomplishing something resume worthy every six months meaning your are kicking butt – getting promoted, adding value and on a great path.  

 Want to start your own conversation about resumes? Go to the Ask a Recruiter forum.



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