Monday, August 29, 2011

Improving Your Resume

Taking advice on your resume, once you have one made and "perfected", is difficult. I've invested a lot of time in putting my experiences down on paper and making it look pretty so when people tell me to change it up, I may be likely to shut down. Resume format is pretty subjective and obviously I think my way is the best way.

But here are some tips that make me willing to rethink how I've done my resume thanks to Penelope Trunk.

Focus on achievements v. responsibilities. 
A resume is not your life story. No one cares. If your life story were so interesting, you'd have a book deal. The only things that should be on your resume are achievements. 
I think this is true for cover letters too; you want to focus on achievements and try to give corresponding numbers. Everything else is space filler. This one is hard for me to buy into because quantifying achievements is so hard...but possible.

Your resume is a marketing document not a moral statement
The best marketing documents show the product in the very best light, which means using whatever most outrageous tactics possible to make you look good. As long as you are not lying, you will be fine.

Don't give everything away

The idea of a resume is to get someone to call you. Talk with you on the phone. Offer you an interview. So a resume is like a first date. You only show your best stuff and you don't show it all.Some people dump everything they can think of onto their resume, but a resume is not the only chance you'll have to sell yourself. In fact the interview is where the hard-core selling takes place. So you only put your very best achievements on the resume. Sure, there will be other questions people will want answers to, but that will make them call you. And that's good, right?

I like these tips because they aren't completely obvious to me. The usual, make it look nice, don't have spelling mistakes, be relevant, tips are SO OLD! But I think job seekers, new and experienced, could use these to rethink how they are selling themselves. I think selling results versus tasks is very appealing.

How willing are you to change up your resume format? If you actually make your resume results-oriented only, by how much do you shorten it?


Michelle Parker said...

Great post. When I first made my resume, I made it very task oriented since I was relatively new to the business-working world. Now I make it more achievement-oriented.