So you’ve decided it’s time to look for a new job and you need to update your resume. Don’t be overwhelmed, don’t panic. It’s a daunting task to be sure but if you keep things simple it will be a whole lot easier!
While I’m not a professional resume writer, as a recruiter I’ve seen a lot of resumes cross my desk. I’d like to share a few basic tips with you.
Here are some questions you need to ask yourself:
Does my resume clearly reflect my experience in terms of the work I’ve been doing over recent years and is it pertinent to the kinds of jobs I’ll be applying for?
Are you looking for a senior sales representative position? If so, why do you have exhaustive details about an inside sales role or tech support position you had 10 years ago? One or two lines highlighting the most pertinent details is enough.
Your current and most recent roles are where you really need to show how you shine. This is your opportunity to show what why the company you’re applying to need to meet you. Be concise and highlight your achievements.
For example, if you’re a sales rep your resume should clearly state:
• who did you sell to (enterprise, mid-market, financial, F-100, etc)
• what did you sell to them (hardware, software, IoT, Cloud, etc)
• what were your results (120%, 150% of quota?)
Is my resume professional and easy to read?
I see a lot of resumes with all kinds of graphics, information up one side and down the other and quite frankly it’s distracting. Worst of all, you’re at risk of your “message” getting lost.
Does my resume contain the key words that HR is probably using to screen?
Most HR folks are going to use some form of keyword search and you need to be aware of this. If the role is selling software to large enterprise accounts then you need to make sure those keywords are on your resume – but don’t get carried away, you want them to see the fit, not think you’ve simply copied the job description.
Is my name and contact information clearly visible on each page of my resume?
Sounds obvious, right? You’d be surprised how easy it is to forget. Using a “header” is a great way to go – every page must have your name and contact information.
Is my resume too long?
Chances are, it is. Your resume should ideally be two pages – three at the most. If your work, by nature, is highly detailed, then create a separate project based document – just make sure that the key points are covered in your resume.
Did I use spell-check and check for grammatical errors?
Hope you did – as you know, a word can be spelled correctly yet still be incorrect!
Do I need a professional summary?
A well thought-out professional summary can be a wonderful thing…but you need to put your heart and soul into it. You need to ensure that your experience and goals align with the role you’re applying for. I have seen candidates miss out on an opportunity because of their professional summary – i.e., highlighting strong leadership skills – but applying for an individual contributor role. An eagle-eyed HR rep will pick out these inconsistencies.
I realize that these points only scratch the surface but hopefully they’ll help you to create the type of resume that human resources and hiring managers will make the time to read.
For additional pointers, or if you are considering taking the next step in your career, please feel free to call me at Rostie & Associates!