April 05, 2016 - Posted to Resume Tips
Mapping It Out
Writing a resume is a huge undertaking. It demands great attention to detail and planning and before you even start you should find all the information you are likely to need and, as far as possible, arrange it into date order. Obviously, if you only have a few years in the workplace it is likely to be far less complicated to assemble everything needed than it would be if you had a thirty-year career where you had moved jobs and companies many times over.
Before you even start to write the resume, think whom you are going to send it to and what you are trying to convey. Unlike a CV, which retains the same information, rather like a biography of yourself, a resume can, to an extent be adapted to suit the job or type of company or institution to which you are applying. You can amplify individual skill sets while turning down others or tuning them out completely if you think that they are irrelevant and, “bring nothing to the table.”
Then, (and this is different) once you have everything to hand find a quiet space and think through everything like a psychologist would. Really.
What do we mean by this?
Most resumes will contain something like, “In charge of a budget to organise company events.” A perfectly fine summary of what your responsibility and role was; but what if we said, “Managed $18,264 budget to arrange series of outside social events for 1,826 staff members and their families.”
Can you see the difference here? You are adding a layer of accountability to the statement and saying, in effect, “I can handle large amounts of money and can manage a large group of disparate people.” Moreover, it is quantified. You have avoided the interviewer asking, (always assuming you got that far) the question in the interview, and you not being able to remember the figures.
You will notice the use of exact numbers here; round numbers give a sense of falseness - they look sloppy and too neat and tidy - $18,264 says “I am accurate, on the ball, and I know my stuff.”
Another - just to hammer home the point: “Wrote various articles on writing and CVs” or “Wrote 12 blog posts on writing and CVs - these generated 827,232 views, 326,345 likes and 14,432 tweets.”
Interests and Hobbies - always a challenge, this. Interests should really be exactly that - interesting. “Films, Television, Reading, Walking.” We have all seen them and probably written them. What about, “
On your resume make your interests something to cause an interviewer to do a double take. “Abyssinian Goat Farming In The Fourteenth Century,” (we are joking) but what about, “David Lean films, French Country Cooking, Restoring a 1968 Harley-Davidson Electra-Glide.” It has more impact, looks better on the page; it makes you stand out and emphasises the fact that you are different. It is far more specific, and, again, avoids the awkward, “so, what kind of films do you like?” question at the interview.
Rewarding Excellence and Achievement
Here is another area you can excel at - the areas at which you excel! Let us say that you put, “Accepted onto the Writers Bureau Academic Degree programme.”
How much better would it be if you enhanced that achievement with some backup which really brings home what an amazing achievement that actually was, “Accepted onto the Writers Bureau Academic Degree programme, 2,320 candidates, 5% admission rate, Writers College selects 37 students each year for this scholarship.”
This emphasises your achievement even though your interviewer may never have heard of Writers Bureau scholarships he knows that 2, 320 candidates applied, of those just 37 were selected, and that you were one of those. Again - how powerful a difference is that?
And Finally …
Just one more to wind up. Go to the company website and read it. Really read it. You will find consistent and repeated messages and “buzzwords” or keywords on it. This is how the company likes to be perceived and subliminally you can throw that back at them. This way you will look experienced and as if you are already part of the team.
There is a little known psychological number in marketing called “The Rule Of Seven.” This is the number of times that a term, sentence, buzzword or whole advert must be seen before a customer takes action. So, if you are going for a marketing job use words like, “advertised,” “marketed,” and “promoted,” in your resume, drop them in like keywords in an advert. Similarly, if you are applying for a position in a startup, use startup vocabulary, “incubated,” “initiated,” “created,” and so on - and again add in those numbers to validate the claims you make. How many projects did you initiate? What percentage of product did you promote?
A Little Bonus For You
If you have ever been in the presence of a big star you will have seen that the way in which people react to you for simply being near them. You can use that phenomenon of the principle of influence on your resume. Did you, any of your clients or colleagues work with a big, household name company or client? A famous face or S&P 500 company? If you did, find a way to get it onto your resume.
“Part of a team of 32 people working on “Nespresso” advertising campaign, worth $45,000, starring George Clooney.” You may have been nowhere near George Clooney but he was associated with the campaign and although your interviewer may not know Nespresso he will have probably heard of George Clooney.
We hope that you enjoyed some of these tips and that they will help you to construct a resume that will get you that coveted job that you have been after. They work. Try them ...