Jan 15, 2016

5 Key Resume Changes You Can Make to Maximize Your Impact


I hear from so many job seekers every day about the lack of confidence they have in their own resumes. They’re not quite sure if it’s good enough, if it’s missing a certain element, or whether they’ve forgotten to include something that is vitally important. Don’t even get them started on keywords and the confusion and mystery there. Hands down what I hear from almost every person I speak with is how incredibly hard it is to write your own resume. I completely understand how hard it can be to write about yourself, and I’m here to (hopefully) help lighten the burden you feel when you sit down for the massive undertaking of writing your resume.

Here are five key changes that you can make to your resume right now that will make the greatest impact. Not just in terms of writing but in your response rate.

KEEP IT SHORT

Listen, there are a lot of misconceptions, confusion, and myths surrounding resumes, and when I say keep it short I want to be perfectly clear that I’m not saying your resume has to be one page; there’s no way an executive can fit 20 years of work history on a single page. Hear me out on this one. When I say “keep it short” I mean as an overall rule for each section of your resume.
  • Instead of using an eight- to10-line career summary to introduce your career history choose a career snapshot instead. Use a branding statement, numbers/metrics, and keywords versus long paragraphs. Break it up so there’s plenty of white space.
  • Instead of having paragraph after paragraph in your career history use 1- to 3-line bullet points.
  • Write concise, lean content in your resume, and cut the fluff.
  • Don’t get sucked into going back more than 10-15 years or listing your entire career history in your resume (or cover letter for that matter).
WRITE YOUR CAREER STORY

Share a challenge you faced or a problem you solved, how you addressed it, and what the outcome or impact was for the employer. This can be done in one or two lines max, but it gives your accomplishments context and shows the value you offer a potential employer.

VISUALS ARE IMPORTANT

Guess what? Resumes have changed—significantly in the past couple of years. So have our attention spans, how we consume content, and what type of content attracts our attention; and resumes are not immune to these changes. You need to be open to incorporating visual images or designs into your resume. This can include: charts, graphs, call-out boxes, text boxes, and shading and colors. All of these techniques can be used to create a visually engaging resume that catches the employer’s attention—and keeps it.

Consider adding color, shading, charts, or graphs to your resume to modernize your presentation and create visual appeal. Neuroscience also tells us that pictures and images also positively affect our information recall. Pictures/images of information are recalled 65% better than just text.

GET SERIOUS ABOUT YOUR PERSONAL BRAND

Just as much as resume writing, job searching, and LinkedIn changes, so do trends with personal branding. According to William Arruda in his 2016 Personal Branding Trends article, video is the new medium garnering our attention—even over social media. It’s not just video that is affecting our personal brand either. The marketplace is changing—and where you live and HOW you work is as well. In Arruda’s article, he shared that World at Work reports 67% of companies offer flexibility where employees work. This is a growing trend—not a fading one, folks. I encourage you to check out his two-part article on 2016 Personal Branding Trends.

Do yourself a favor and stay on top of your personal brand instead of playing catch up!

When it comes to personal branding on resumes it’s not just a statement at the top! It’s all the content within that supports it and even the colors you choose to use on your resume. My challenge to you is to check out this article and videofrom PersonalBranding.tv on the color of your personal brand and incorporate that color in your resume. You can also include that same color on your other career marketing documents, professional website(s), and your LinkedIn profile.

NUMBERS MATTER

I hear the challenges that many of you face when it comes to resumes and sharing numbers. Concerns include sharing confidential earnings or proprietary company information, not having any to share at all, or not tracking it during your tenure.

Here’s my advice—find numbers. It’s not as hard as you think it is; maybe you’re just looking in the wrong place. Are you a receptionist? How many calls are you answering per day?

Are you a manager or leader? How many people are you managing, what size budget are you overseeing, have you increased your team’s productivity or has fostering a positive team environment resulted in greater retention rates for your team versus others?

Executives—talk about teams managed, bottom-line profitability or cost cutting. Money matters. Find the dollars and then start incorporating the dollars or percentages into your resume for an immediate and powerful impact.

It’s not just about incorporating those dollars, percents, and metrics within the body of the resume—it’s about putting them at the very forefront, at the top of the resume for all to see. There’s a myth out there that you have to use a career summary and it has to be a broad-based overview of your entire career history at the top of your resume. WRONG. That is prime resume real estate, and you need to make the most of it. Don’t shy away from sharing numbers; jump at the chance to show employers the value you can bring to the table!

Remember, you want to write lean, clean, and concise using context. Incorporate visuals, personal branding and numbers and you have five small, but key changes you can make to your resume TODAY to create maximum impact on your resume response rate.

Struggling to write your own resume? Let’s chat! Visit my website, call my office at 1.800.991.5187, or connect with me on LinkedIn and let’s discuss how I help busy job seekers create interview-winning resumes, cover letters, and LinkedIn profiles that generate interviews in two weeks or less.

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