We are so glad you asked that question. Here’s the answer, even though it’s another question: How do you want to be seen? Does it matter what you do, what you wear, what you say, or whether there’s a little piece of spinach between your teeth?
If you want to be seen and noticed for all the right reasons – i.e., your talents, skills, and abilities that will add immediate value to a team – then the content of your resume becomes important. So does its presentation, carefully crafted by someone with the ability and professional training to weave your experience into a tight, focused, strategic narrative that highlights your strengths. Think of your resume as an essential marketing tool.
And then there’s branding. What’s your special sauce? Why are you the Office Manager, CFO, Marketing Director, or Graphic Designer this company should hire, or at least meet in person and consider? What sets you apart from all the other Office Managers (CFOs, Marketing Directors, or Graphic Designers)? Can you say it powerfully in twelve words or less?
These are some of the benefits you gain from working with a skilled, strategic resume writer. You should expect him or her to talk with you, listen closely, understand your goals, and ask you many, many questions about your work history as he/she digs for metrics, both quantitative and qualitative. If it’s been a while since you wrote your resume, here’s two tips from current best practices in the industry.
1. Forget dense paragraphs. Better to stick with bullet points. Humans now have a shorter attention span than goldfish (I am not making this up). The average length of time a Hiring Manager spends looking at a resume to assess interest in reading further is six seconds.
That doesn’t mean we should spend less time constructing it; at Life Working®, we scrutinize every word and phrase to be as relevant, strategic, and competitive as possible for the jobs our clients want. (Kind of like the philosophy behind “Plan as if you’re going to live forever; live as though you’re going to die tomorrow.”) We write as if every word matters and will be read, then tighten for clarity, comprehension, and brevity.
2. If your bullet points are too general and sound like tasks listed on a job description, they’re not working hard enough for you. How can the Hiring Manager know the scope of your project, and whether you did it well or not?
It’s important to focus on IMPACT. Without details and results you won’t stand out as the powerful candidate you are. How did the company/client/audience benefit from the work you did? That’s what matters. You want the reader to start imagining how they’ll benefit from bringing some of your goodness their way.
And we haven’t even gotten to the subject of Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), which most companies now use as part of their HR/recruiting process to screen out unqualified applicants and narrow the pile of appropriate candidates. Largely dominated by proprietary systems, there are also open-source software alternatives. Either way, it’s never been more important to stay savvy and up-to-date on current hiring best practices and use well-chosen keywords in your written materials to stay in the “IN” pile.
So how good are you at selling your best self, and doing so in a way that feels honest, authentic and comfortable for you, while still being persuasive?
Can you tell your story in a way that’s seamless, purposeful, relevant and meaningful to the Hiring Manager at the company where you want to work?
Do you know how to format your resume with appropriate fonts, keywords, sufficient white space, and without graphic elements that an Applicant Tracking System could kick out before a human ever sees it?
Depending on your answer, it might be time to contact Life Working®. It’s one sure way of investing in yourself and knowing you’re presenting yourself at your absolute best.