I recently became a member of the Career Professionals of Canada organization and as a new member, I am eligible to pursue my Certified Resume Strategists designation.
The first step in pursuing this designation is reading a 150-page textbook on writing great resumes. I’m almost done reading the book and I wanted to share some useful tidbits that I picked up along the way.
1. Think of your Resume as a Marketing Tool. In marketing, the object is to identify the potential buyer’s needs and cater your messaging towards them. For resume writers, that means carefully researching the target company, industry, and job duties in order to highlight the most relevant skills and accomplishments on the resume.
The book differentiates this from using the resume as a sales tool, wherein you might be tempted to just list all the best things about yourself regardless of what the employer needs.
2. Build your Resume around your Unique Value Proposition. Decide what makes you uniquely qualified for the position to which you are applying (i.e. Pilot Project Specialist, Software Solutions Sales Expert, Progressive Team-Builder, Innovative Problem-Solver) and use that as sort of a thesis statement which you back up throughout the resume.
Implementing this would mean using a headline or summary statement at the top of your resume such as “Safety-Focused Warehouse Manager” and following up with accomplishments like “Designed and implemented enhanced safety protocol company-wide; resulting in a 125% decrease in workplace injuries.”
3. Under work experience, emphasize accomplishments over job duties. Use SMART statements (Specific, Measurable, Action-Oriented, Results-Oriented, Time-Bound) to highlight things you accomplished in previous roles, rather than simply listing job duties.
Bad example: “Entered customer profile information in database”
Good example: “Generated 50-75 customer profiles per week using the ABC Software company database, utilized by account management team to increase customer retention by 15% in 2017”
4. Some random, yet specific tips. The tips above are very conceptual. Here are some very specific tips for you from the textbook.
Objective statements are out of style (“I would like to acquire employment at blah, blah, blah”) and that space can be used more effectively with a headline (example in point 2).
There is no set rule about page limit but lengthy resumes (over two pages) can be off-putting to recruiters unless you have a great reason to take up so much space.
Leave plenty of white space on your resume. An overly busy resume is tough to read and could reduce recruiter interest.
Avoid photos, logos, and graphics. Unless you are a creative professional or a model, just stick with good-old reliable “words”.
There were lots of other interesting tips and guidelines in the textbook, but I know my audience and that is probably enough information for this instalment.
If you need any help with your resume, I’m getting pretty darn good at writing them, so please reach out!
Thanks for reading!