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Resume Formatting: Do’s and Don’t’s that Help You Stand Out

Resume Formatting: Do’s and Don’t’s that Help You Stand Out

Put yourself in the shoes of a hiring manager. Two resumes are in front of you; both are possible candidates for the open position. The first is littered with text, margin to margin, full of inconsistent fonts and format, and very little useful information stands out. The second resume is presented with consistent font and format, short bullets with precise information, and plenty of white space. Which resume would you rather tackle first?

The appearance of your resume is not as important as its content, certainly, but your presentation can affect your future hiring executive’s impression of your candidacy. In the example above, the two resumes contain two qualified candidates, but the difference is clear. A cluttered resume displays a cluttered style — clunky and disorganized — which is the last thing any employer wants in their ranks.

Resume content is always more important than its format; however, you do need to pay attention to how that content is presented. Make sure you’re following the Dos and Don’ts for good presentation of your professional resume.

Template Don’t

Don’t use downloadable templates. On the one hand, the more generic your resume appears, the fewer seconds a hiring manager will spend glancing at it before putting it aside and forgetting about it. On the other, many templates are not built to present well across individual machines, so you never will be entirely certain that your beautiful layout will appear equally attractive on someone else’s computer, and especially not on a mobile device.

Format Don’t

Bright paper or flashy clip art will catch the hiring manager’s eye, but not in a good way.

These kinds of tricks appear unprofessional. Resumes that bring success use a combination of a clean layout with strong content without resorting to flash.

Typeface Don’t

While font choice is important, distracting choices can derail your message. Hiring managers should focus on content — your skills, abilities, and experiences. Don’t decrease readability by using more than two fonts in your resume. Using two complementary fonts, say one for headings and one for the body, highlights important pieces of the document while maintaining the integrity of the information.

Color Do

Use a strategic splash of color to emphasize particular information or graphical elements.

Spelling and Grammar Do

Spelling and grammar are small things you need to be conscious of through your resume. Spell check is not always reliable as it won’t catch every grammar mistake if of the words are spelled correctly. “To,” “too,” and “two” are often confused and can easily be missed in such a check.

White Space Do

White space on your resume is essential for the reader. Use reasonable margins as well as space strategically between sections of information. This gives the reader, a hiring manager or otherwise, a break and points of focus without using more obvious styles. While the information on your resume is important, you don’t want it to look like a page from a novel or high school essay.

Consistency Do

Being consistent with your format throughout your entire resume will allow your reader to follow patterns. This makes your resume an easy read rather than a search and find. If you use bold titles for your current workplace, you should do the same for all other experience listed. Special note: Limit your use of bold, italic, and underlined text—if you try to make everything stand out, nothing will.

By Kaley Buck, Five Strengths Contributor

Your Resume Is Your Worst Enemy:6 Ways to Defeat it

Your Resume Is Your Worst Enemy:6 Ways to Defeat it

Compiling an amazing resume is often described as the ultimate job search challenge. Truly, creating the resume that will secure an interview may well be the most difficult part of your job search. It doesn’t take much to land your shining finished product firmly in the “no” pile. There are turn-offs, red flags and simple mistakes that will send your resume straight into the garbage can. However, being aware of these common mistakes and avoiding them is half the battle. Let’s take a look…

Problem #1: Your resume is too lengthy, but you’re unsure of what to delete.

Deciding what makes the final cut on your resume can be a real challenge. Experts advise not to go further back than 10-15 years in your work history. Another way to determine this would be to not include more than your previous 5 jobs, whichever option is shorter. Descriptions of duties at each position can also take up a lot of room and is generally unnecessary. Using short sentences or bullet points can be great ways to simplify details. While there doesn’t seem to be a perfect length for a resume, one page seems to be the current trend with two-pages being acceptable if needed.

Beware of using what is termed as “filler.” This is an old trend that has gone by the wayside. At one time there seemed to be a misconception that having important words or different types of positions listed on your resume would increase your chances of landing an interview. This will not prove true if this extra information causes your resume to be so wordy and long that it is tossed in the trash bin. “More” is not “better” in when dealing with your resume. You do not want to appear to be someone who “dabbles” in everything; you want to show expertise or experience in a couple of areas instead.

Problem #2: You lack education and experience.

This can be a common problem as we search for positions that challenge us to better ourselves. When you find that job that mentions experience or education that you lack, you should still give it a shot. What do you have to lose by applying? Job listings tend to contain a wish list of sorts for the perfect candidate. Odds are, there isn’t going to be anyone that meets each requirement. Be honest in listing the education and experience that you do possess, don’t ever be dishonest. Even if your degree is in a completely different field, it still demonstrates your knowledge base and shows that you are a graduate. Fill in the blanks by expressing the interest and enthusiasm you have for the position along with a healthy desire to learn on the job. You may be surprised with the results.

Problem #3: Not only did you not stay long at your last job, you have a history of frequently changing jobs.

If you find yourself in a situation where you are wondering if a job should be listed, here is a common guideline. If you were at a job for less than two months, leave it off your resume. If the time spent in that position was over two months than in most cases you will want to include it on your resume. Such a short time frame spent in any position is bound to raise questions from a perspective employer, so be prepared to answer truthfully. It may be that the position wasn’t what you had hoped for or maybe there were economic problems that surfaced, whatever the case, be ready to discuss it.

A similar issue that you may face comes from hopping from job to job. While this may feel like a mark against you, that is not always the case in the eye of the hiring manager. Perhaps you advanced in status due to some of your job changes? Having the initiative to continue to search until you find what you are looking for and where you will happily stay may show the company in which you are applying for that you are in a real search for a long term career. As mentioned above, be prepared to discuss these job changes and the goal of each. Remember, no trash talking, that never leaves a positive impression. Avoid it at all costs.

Problem #4: You have sizeable gaps in your work history.

If you have time off between jobs that are long enough to draw questions it is a good idea to address these in your cover letter. Take comfort in the fact that with the economic slowdowns that have hit over the past decade gaps in employment history are much more common than they once were. State in your cover letter whether the time off was due to staying home to raise children or a tough job market, but do address it. If the length of your job search has reached a point that you must get something on your resume, then take up some volunteer or freelancing work and include that. As with anything on your resume, be prepared to have an open and honest discussion about it.

Problem #5: You are using outdated resume terms.

You want your resume to get noticed, but not for the wrong reasons. Below is a list of some of the terms you should now avoid even though they were popular in the past.

  • References available by request (Of course they are, but either include them, or don’t mention them).
  • Detail-oriented (aren’t we all? At least to some extent).
  • Hardworking (actions speak louder than words; no one really believes this statement until they see it for themselves).
  • Objective (very outdated, replaced with a job or career summary).
  • Responsible for…. (Using this format will cause your resume to become to wordy).
  • Problem solver (is this really unique to you? I don’t think so…).
  • Team player (again, action and time will tell).

Problem #6: You include too much personal information and decoration.

Even though talking about hobbies, religion and marital status discloses a lot about yourself, you don’t want to include these details on your resume. You also don’t want to be the one resume that uses a bright pink cursive font. While you will get noticed, it will not bring the results that you are hoping for.

A professional resume is crucial in today’s competitive job market. The details can make or break you. Be sure that your resume shows a clear direction along with career goals that you are hoping to achieve without including information that would be deemed too personal.

Remember, every mistake you may have on your resume is completely fixable, don’t lost heart. Don’t make more of it than it is by taking yourself too seriously. Your resume isn’t a legally binding document. Your past employer isn’t going to proof read it for you. Your resume is a summary of your work history, education and experience, that’s all. It’s your journey, your path and experiences and your future. Take the time to prepare a resume that makes you feel confident or hire a professional resume writer to do so, but take pride in yourself and your accomplishments, whatever they may be.

By Brandy Higginson, Five Strengths Contributor
Image courtesy of aechan at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What Your Competitors Can Teach You About Your Resume

What Your Competitors Can Teach You About Your Resume

 

Weeks have passed since you sailed through both a phone screening and a first interview, and yet, you haven’t heard another word. Obviously someone else has taken the position that you were hoping to score. So the question remains, why? What did they have that you didn’t? What made someone else stand out above you and the rest of the applicants? Was it their skills, personality, interview or even their resume? You can’t risk being deficient in any of the categories mentioned above. The problem lies in the fact that we don’t often hear back about why we were not chosen for a position. How do we improve with no information on what’s going wrong? We need to break the cycle we so easily find ourselves in and think like a competitor. Make no mistake, this is a competition.

Open with an Engaging Summary

In case you haven’t heard, placing an “Objective” at the top of your resume has become a thing of the past. The current trends are leaning toward a Summary. This is a friendly, more personable way to introduce yourself to prospective employers. This is a chance to let some of your personality show through in what can otherwise be a somewhat dry and detail-oriented fact sheet and job history. Think of the summary as a modern day, virtual handshake. Be professional but let your personality shine through. Do not include details such as hobbies and marital status; however, they don’t want to hear about those things at this point, stay professional but engaging. This will kick-off a current, interesting and competitive resume.

Don’t be Afraid to Show your Passion

We often hold ourselves back from truly expressing our feelings about how important something is to us. This isn’t a mistake that you will have a chance to rectify when made on a resume or at an initial job interview. Let your passion about an opportunity or your past experiences come through. A hiring agent needs to be able to accurately gauge your level of interest whether on paper or in person. You must be sure that you are honestly expressing your enthusiasm.  Hiring someone that they know is truly excited about a position will win over someone that just seems to be “a good fit,” every time. Provide solid explanations about why this company or position intrigues you. How does it fit into the puzzle of your future aspirations? What are you excited to show them?

Highlight Results-Driven Accomplishments

When listing previous employment, do not provide endless explanations or lists of duties preformed or extreme details of what was required of you. While you want to be thorough, you don’t need to list every position that you have ever had. Instead think about unique methods and ideas that you contributed that had proven measureable results. Such as: increases in sales, customer numbers, social media presence, etc. Stay focused on relevance as well as stability. You want to highlight the results you can bring to the table. A bulleted, verb packed format can be a great way to present this information as it is a quick scan for your interviewer and an easy discussion starter.

Remember the All-Important Keywords

As you prepare your resume, remember that you are competing not only against other resumes, but against machines and talent-management software. This software will generally dispose of up to 50% of resumes and cover letters before they even grace the presence of a human being. Using the correct keywords becomes more important every day. You can create your own list of important keywords by previewing many different job listings in the field in which you are seeking employment. Search for similarities in skill sets, tasks, duties, and so on. Be sure to insert these important key-words naturally throughout your resume, be thorough but of course, don’t overdo it.

Be a Confident Competitor

There are many ways to make your resume stand out above the rest. Your resume is the single most important part of your job search. Read it aloud to ensure that it is competitive, concise, and attention getting. Also, don’t forget your cover letter.  If after revamping and applying all the techniques above you are still not getting the recognition that you feel you deserve, it may be time to call in a professional Resume Writer. Turning the process over to an outside source with well-trained methods can be just the boost you need to make it to the top of the list.

By Brandy Higginson, Five Strengths Contributor
Image courtesy of Sira Anamwong at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

5 Creative Ways You Can Improve Your Resume

5 Creative Ways You Can Improve Your Resume

Compiling a unique, powerful and attention getting resume has always been difficult. However, in today’s tech-driven world, it is getting even more challenging. There are elements that are game changers, such as electronic resume scanners. It is more critical than ever to be at the top of your job-seeking game. This means, first and foremost, having an optimized resume that will get you that interview.

Do Not List an Objective

Rather than listing an objective, write a summary statement. You do not want to start off your resume by making demands as having an objective seems to do. You would do better to set a different tone from the beginning. A short synopsis that illustrates your work history, achievements and experience is a welcome addition to any resume. These statements may even be done in a bulleted format for quick skimming by a prospective employer. The objective section is now out, and the summary statement is the current trend.

Change the Design but be Consistent

We often seem to get into a rut with the style, color and design of our resumes. We may go in and update information, but we rarely change formatting, color or detail. To stay current with today’s job market, it is crucial to get ourselves out of this box and make our resume’s stand out. We are able to use graphs, charts, boxes, images and so on to enhance our resume. In adding these details, however, you want to be sure to stay true to your industry and not go too far over the top. You don’t want to use more than two different font types or sizes. It can just be too much. Think about the field you are applying in and make sure your resume is a good fit. However, this is a great chance for a creative and attention getting self-promotion of your skills.

Describe Your Future, not Only Your Past

A resume is not your life story. It must be kept short and concise. You are in fact trying to “sell yourself,” not give a narrative of your history. The goals you have for your future career should be what guides the information that makes the cut and appears on your resume. The past experience that highlights these goals should be maximized and highlighted. You want to be in control of which aspects of your experience are focused on. Emphasize the past employment that relates to the position you are applying for the most. This will keep the direction of your resume where you want it to be. Clarity is the goal.

Practice Skimming

Once you feel that your resume is close to ready to send out, put yourself in the recruiter’s seat. Set your resume on your desk and look at it from afar.

  • Does it look like more than you want to read? Than it probably is and you need to cut out some of the unnecessary words and fluff. Also, be sure to leave some white spaces between paragraphs for ease of readability.
  • Can you easily pick up on details and critical keywords that fit the position you are applying for? If not, make them more obvious, emphasize them.
  • Are you able to quickly scan through within about six seconds and get a good idea of the qualifications contained in your resume? Is there enough information at a glance to make you worthy of an interview?
  • Does your contact information stand out clearly? If you have listed more than one phone number or email address, simplify. Give them one or two most direct routes to contact you and then be available if they do call.

Spend some time on each of these questions to ensure your resume is ready to be distributed.

Format for Delivery

Have you ever felt unsure about the format you should send a resume in? Don’t be, the answer is PDF. By the time you are submitting a resume for consideration, you have spent countless hours making sure that every line is formatted correctly, every bullet point lined up. Don’t lose your hard work by submitting a resume in a Word document and having it arrive with these fine details lost. Sending a PDF insures that your resume will arrive exactly as you sent it.

Using the ideas and tools in this article should help you re-think your familiar approach to your resume. Step out of your comfort zone and dare to be more creative. The goal is to have your resume be informative yet pleasing to the eye by those who evaluate it. Take your time and do it right, you won’t regret it.

By Brandy Higginson, Five Strengths Contributor
Image courtesy of lekkyjustdoit at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

What Will the Resume Look Like in Ten Years?

What Will the Resume Look Like in Ten Years?

Over the past ten years, many elements of the resume have changed. That’s not to say that the professional resume hasn’t continually evolved since its creation, which is attributable to Leonardo da Vinci. The resume is a document subject to evolution, just like everything else. With every new piece of technology, an aspect of the resume changes. What exactly is different in the way resumes are written now versus how they were written ten years ago? What does that mean for resumes in the future?

One-does-all vs. One-for-one

One resume used to be enough. You would have one resume crafted, generic in content, listing your previous jobs and responsibilities. Numerous copies of that resume would be printed on expensive resume paper and it was used for every job application. Employers would receive applications from roughly ten people per post and take the time to review each resume. That isn’t the case now. Each job you apply to should have a variation of your resume with no repeats, the exception being applications to the exact position with other companies. However, more than likely, there will be keywords that differ from company to company. With the way resumes are now submitted, electronically, companies might receive hundreds of applications per post. It is easy for employers to weed out applicants with some type of resume-screening software, making keywords necessary. The software will eliminate applicants who don’t meet the keywords, narrowing the applicant pool. Some companies may still review each resume by hand, but customization is still important.

Method of Submission

Resumes have been sent by every method – snail mail, fax, email, donut delivery – and that will probably not change. In the past, you sent your resume by snail mail, waiting to hear back from the hiring manager once they have personally reviewed it. Now, email and online job application submission are the most common method of resume acceptance. Hiring managers typically use a hard-copy of the resume to take notes during the actual interview, which could change with the use of a tablet in the future, but that seems an unlikely progression given the interview environment. Having an online presence is necessary and can increase your chances of being asked to interview. The challenge lies in how you present yourself and through what type of online resource – portfolio, LinkedIn profile, website, etc.

Duties and Accomplishments

Your resume, at one point in your career, was a conglomeration of all your past jobs, the skills you needed for each one, and what duties you performed. However, there is such a thing as too much information. The current practice is to provide all relevant information that pertains to the job you’re applying to. As mentioned earlier, you will accumulate resumes specific to certain types of jobs and may have many versions of the same information. You will also leave out past positions that aren’t relevant, like the very first job you had waiting tables or cashiering.

Leaving out the irrelevant gives you room to expand upon your expertise in your field, including major accomplishments and special training. Highlight what you know best and show the employers what you can do. Minimizing the fluff in your resume will benefit you in the long run because most hiring managers use software to analyze resumes. The software is designed to recognize keywords within the resume and weed out applicants.

Personal Touches

While you should make yourself stand out from the crowd, you don’t want to overshare personal details to your potential new employers. It was common to add personal statements with details like your age, marital status, children, hobbies, religion, or even a photograph. Now, employers really don’t want to see information unless it is directly related to the job – they would actually prefer not to know personal details. Personal details on a resume leave the employer in a tricky situation because they could then be accused of discrimination based on those personal interests, your appearance, or affiliations. Really, the rule of thumb here is: When in doubt, leave it out.

You do want to be unique, but it should be shown through what you can do for that employer. Portfolios, websites, and social media create the whole picture for an employer. We are living in an age of technology where nearly every document can be forged – saying things or having them on your resume isn’t necessarily enough. If you say you can do something, you need to be prepared to demonstrate your talents.

The Only Constant Is Change

Proper grammar and spelling are the only things that will never change when it comes to a professional resume or document. What will resumes look like in our future? There is no guaranteed response to this, but predictions are welcome. Will we move to only using social media, like LinkedIn, as our means of job application and personal representation? It is always possible to move back to a simpler representation of the resume, however unlikely. Looking back through the history of resume evolution, dating back five centuries, it would be unlikely that a professional resume would stop being part of the job application process, but what it will look like is still a bit of a mystery.

Remember, the only constant in this world is change.

 

By Kaley Buck, Five Strengths Contributor
Photo attributed to Stuart Miles of FreeDigitalPhotos.net
A Resume: Not Just for Job Search

A Resume: Not Just for Job Search

A Resume: Not Just for Job Search

Resumes display your accomplishments, are your marketing tools, and are the foundation of your brand. While keeping yours up-to-date can be painstaking or time-consuming, doing so is important. You never know when you will need your resume. Not only do you need it if, worst-case scenario, you are in the market for a new job or career path, but resume writing can help you reflect on your professional development and even prepare for your next annual review.A Resume: Not Just for Job Search

Why should you update your resume?

Simply put, life is fluid and your resume should show every change you find important. If you only update the document when you’re looking for a job, you could sell yourself short. Taking the time to write down all of your accomplishments will give you an edge when you actually need your resume. Think of it more like a list of completed tasks than a dictation of your skills:

  • Presentations, Conferences, Interviews

You may be asked to or want to present at a conference, publish any of your work, or sit for an interview. Providing the media or conference organizer with your resume will back up your information. Then, you can add that experience to your resume!

  • Nominations

Colleagues can nominate you for awards, but your resume usually needs to be presented to the awards committee for validation. An up-to-date resume will reveal all of your achievements in a way you are confident and comfortable with. Waiting until asked will result in a rush to fix that years old resume and scrambling to come up with something that won’t represent yourself well.

  • Freelance work

While you might not be looking for a new job or career, you may decide to pick up side jobs. Freelancing is a good way to earn some spending money and add on to your skill set. However, most contracted work requires a current resume.

  • Recruiters

If you keep your social media (LinkedIn) up to date as well, a recruiter might reach out to you. Your skills and experience draw attention. Recruiters look for the best fit candidates despite job standing. Of course, you can turn down any offers or ignore recruiters, but keep that resume recent on the off chance you might be interested.

  • Promotion at your current workplace

Promotion opportunities don’t become available often. If your resume is current, you can apply for that promotion quickly, without having to take the time to change it.

Put yourself in the employer’s shoes

When creating your resume, think about what an employer wants to see. What are they looking for and what experiences will set you apart from other potential candidates? Resumes are a snapshot of you as a person and most employers spend about ten seconds perusing a resume unless they find something worth further inspection. Electronic documents are used much more often than paper, so keep that in mind. If your resume looks like everyone else’s, it will be treated in kind. Employers also appreciate consistency. When taking the time to recent your resume, be consistent — meaning don’t just update LinkedIn if your resume is posted on several other social media profiles. And take the time to tailor it to a job you are interested in. If you want to highlight your skills for one job but experience for another, create different copies of your resume to that effect.

Think about your resume like a long-term career management tool. When you sit down to update it, you have the opportunity to examine your personal values, communication-style, and experiences to display them in a manner that will set yourself apart from your competition. It is a great way to highlight all of your experiences and reflect on where you’ve been to how far you’ve come in your career. Using a resume to reflect on all of your positions and skills gives you an opportunity to be confident in your abilities and know exactly of what you are capable. Even if you aren’t currently looking for a job, you should keep it as up-to-date as possible. Don’t wait until you need a resume, keep one on hand for worst-case scenarios or if you are pursuing a step up in your career field.

By Kaley Buck, Five Strengths Contributor
Image by phasinphoto at FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Resume versus Job Application: What’s the Difference?

Resume versus Job Application: What’s the Difference?

. . . and why does it matter?

Many companies require that you fill out a job application even though a resume is already in the hands of the hiring manager. While this may seem to be unnecessary repetition on your part, there are several reasons that companies want both the resume and the job application–reasons that benefit both the candidate and the hiring company. But if the information you provide on these two important career documents do not match, proceed only at the peril of your interview, and possibly your career.

Your Resume

Your resume is different from your job application.

Think of your resume as an advertising vehicle on your background. It provides the branding that you want to bring to your interviewer and makes you shine in the interview process.  It develops your branding and details the assets you bring to a future employer.

A resume provides a job candidate with an organized and structured method to present work experiences and achievements, educational background, membership in professional organizations and pertinent community involvement. Continuing education courses should be added to the resume especially if they are aligned with the prospective company’s interests.

Your Job Application

The job application offers a company a legal document that states that all information provided is true and allows the interviewer to look further into your background. Well-designed employment applications often will ask for more complete details as to why a person left a position or compensation history.

Applications are part of your official record with a company. Making sure that your resume and application information aligns is important. An interviewer will catch discrepancies even if done in error.

Both the resume and job application need to be complete and written honestly. Lying on either is an issue, especially since the job application is considered a legal document. Most applications have wording that states that all information provided is true, complete and accurate. Should a company discover that information was falsely stated, could result. It is wise to be completely honest on both the resume and the job application.

Does Your Resume Match Your Job Application?

Recent news, including notable cases at major media companies, suggests that a mismatch between your resume and job search is cause for immediate rejection by a target company (or termination, if you’re already employed). Don’t risk it. The more honest you can be about your career history, the more authentic your career story is. If you are having trouble telling your career history, due to some complexities in your career timeline (terminations, job hopping, and so on), then find an expert career coach and resume writer who can help you message that story appropriately.

Are You Using Numbers on Your Executive Resume?

Are You Using Numbers on Your Executive Resume?

There are three levels of writing your executive resume. Choose wisely to fully describe your accomplishments in your executive resume.

Level 1: A mere description of your job, as recorded by human resources.

There are three ways to write executive resume accomplishment bullets.

There are three ways to write executive resume accomplishment bullets.

If you are an executive in charge of sales, this responsibility is likely recorded in your job description catalogued by human resources. This means that you are charged with growing sales, managing a team, and generally leading the sales endeavor. It says nothing about whether you actually accomplished this goal. Therefore, at the most basic level of resume writing, you can write:

* Responsible for increasing sales.

How does such a description sound to you? Does it answer your need for information about how well this person succeeded in the role? There is no context for how this person accomplished this goal, and certainly no metrics by which to measure his success.

Level 2: Some context, but no quantification

At a deeper level, you can deliver a clear description of the tactics and choices you made as an executive to dance your company. More than simply a description of your job given by HR, you can describe the choices you made to achieve your company’s goals:

* Guided sales team and drive alongs, providing coaching and mentoring to improve sales strategies and techniques.

As you can see, with more information and context, this accomplishment statement amplifies your story. Nevertheless, it does not yet provide The metrics that describe exactly what you were able to do. It gets you partway, but not all the way to writing an excellent accomplishment statement in your executive resume.

Level 3: Context, metrics, and demonstration of clear success

At the highest level of executive resume writing, you support those accomplishments with metrics that immediately demonstrate your success. These numbers can be straight numbers, or they can be percentages if you are concerned about divulging company private data:

* Increased sales team’s widget sales pipeline by 22% within two months of hire.

Sometimes, metrics are not quantifiable

What if your executive team does not measure your success with facts and figures? What if you build relationships, guide teams, and provide efficiency strategies that cannot be tied directly to specific metrics? If this is the case, then use the values by which you are judged to provide context and measurement of success. For one notable client I can recall, an internal auditing executive, his unique metrics was that his organization passed every annual audit during his tenure with the company. That’s not a metric of growth or sales, but his success was critical to the company’s success.

In conclusion, to demonstrate that you are the right person to take on those types of challenges again, you need to elevate your accomplishment bullets in your executive resume to show that you have the skills and the history to back up your experience.

 

Image courtesy of freeimages.com/Ayla87

Cut the Clutter, and Start Storytelling in Your Executive Resume

Cut the Clutter, and Start Storytelling in Your Executive Resume

The biggest mistake you are making with your executive resume is one you do not even know you are doing. You’re describing your career history. It is true–you are describing your jobs one by one, and you are boring your audience, ensuring that they do not read beyond the first line or two of each position you have held. Read on to learn how to change your executive resume writing strategy by minimizing the space you use to describe your career.

You Are Probably Thinking that This Resume Strategy Sounds Crazy

Tell Stories in Your Executive Resume

Tell Stories in Your Executive Resume

You might be thinking that storytelling is a crazy strategy for your executive resume, but I assure you it is not. The truth is that no hiring executive wants to know what your human resources department thinks your job should be. If you are simply describing your position, you are dulling your top-notch expertise into a simple paragraph and a few bullets that do not do your career justice.

Cut the Clutter, and Start Storytelling

Instead of describing the minutiae of your daily job duties, start telling stories. Your future hiring executive wants to know not what you did, but how you did it. Another way to think of this is that your future hiring executive wants to be able to evaluate your experience in the context of your company and your industry, not in the context of the HR-speak in the company files. If you need a good rule of thumb, the body of your executive resume should be about 30% position description and 70% storytelling.

How to Tell a Great Story in Your Executive Resume in Three Easy Steps

Follow this rubric to tell great stories in your resume. Your resume will be more interesting to start, and your future hiring executive will be able to associate the problems in his or her companies with the types of solutions you are accustomed to driving.

Step 1: Pick a Career Story Topic

Your story topic can be

  • “What was the mess/situation/complexity that you were hired to solve?”
  • “What was the best thing you ever did in your job, the cool outcome that makes you smile every time you recall it?”
  • “What was the worst project you worked on? Why was it awful?”
  • And many more, all related to the types of problems you expect your future hiring executive to be facing (check the job posting if you are not sure what they want!).

Step 2: Tell What You Did to Fix It

In the second step, describe the action(s) you took to resolve the problem. Talk about your team’s contributions, your leadership, the money you invested or saved, and the process you followed to ensure a positive outcome. For example, you might describe how you negotiated a termination clause with a vendor and brought a development team in-house for a particularly thorny project. Or you might describe the way you coached your sales team to increase top-line revenue.

Step 3. Describe the Outcome

In the final step, tell what happened in your company or your industry as a result of your contribution described in step 2. In the examples above, you might describe how bringing your development team in-house sped production 10% and saved the company 16% monthly over the original vendor cost. Or you might indicate that your sales team exceeded quota by 15% for three consecutive quarters and are on track for +18% in the current quarter.

Putting It All Together: The Accomplishment versus the Duty

In conclusion, nobody cares that you were responsible for hiring a development team or for driving sales. At the executive level, these are part and parcel of your job, and talking about them the way your job description reads is frankly boring. If you want to wow your future hiring executive, then you need to put the bulleted statements together in a way that cannot be ignored or overlooked:

  • Within three months of hire, jump-started flagging [project title] by exercising termination clause on expensive development vendor and recruiting 5 in-house developers plus project manager; completed project 10% faster than plan and saved 16% on projected budget.
  • For three consecutive quarters, coached team to exceed quota by 15% with combination of advanced product training and weekend retreat focused on selling strategies and customer needs assessments. On track to beat quota in Q4 20XX by 18%.

These are the accomplishment statements that impress hiring leaders. Your hiring executive needs to know not just what you did but how you did it and why it was important. Remember, if the accomplishment is relevant to a future executive role and important to you, you can tell a great story about it.

Image courtesy of freeimages.com / edududas

For Immediate Release: Easy Job Search Strategies for Resumes and Cover Letters e-Book

For Immediate Release

Easy Job Search Strategies for Resumes and Cover Letters e-Book

Now Available on Kindle

SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH (February 25, 2013). Five Strengths Career Transition Experts, Salt Lake City, UT, is proud to announce that Amy L. Adler, CEO, published Easy Job Search Strategies for Resumes and Cover Letters on Amazon.com in Kindle format.

Amy L. Adler, first-place winner of the Toast of the Resume Industry (TORI) Award for Best Executive Resume, announced today that she has published Easy Job Search Strategies for Resumes and Cover Letters. This concise, inexpensive, and accessible e-book contains Adler’s top-secret techniques for determining your next job and writing the resume that gets you there. This new e-book promotes the best career transition strategies and the most powerful resume writing techniques available.

Six interactive worksheets give every reader the chance to implement Adler’s strategy right away. Job seekers who need to identify the right job titles, the right resume formats, and the right cover letters to win interviews need to read this book. Says Adler, “The economy is tough. If job seekers are unemployed, or underemployed, they need access to the right techniques that will give them the same chance to achieve the interviews they need. This e-book levels the playing field.”

Easy Job Search Strategies for Resumes and Cover Letters
Only $0.99 at
http://bit.ly/easyjobsearchstrategiesforresumesandcoverletters

Bloggers: Ask for a free review copy.

About Amy L. Adler

Amy L. Adler, MBA, MA, CARW is the founder and CEO of Five Strengths Career Transition Experts, headquartered in Salt Lake City, Utah. She won first place in the TORI Awards 2012 for Best Executive Resume. Amy is one of the most experienced career transitions experts in the nation and frequently writes and speaks on career advancement, executive résumé writing and interview strategies. Having written hundreds of job search documents, several examples of her work have been published in Gallery of Best Cover Letters, 4th Ed. (David F. Noble, JIST Publishing, 2012).

 

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For interviews and media appearances, contact Amy L. Adler
2180 East 4500 South, Suite 150 | Holladay, UT 84117 | +1 (801) 810-JOBS | www.fivestrengths.com