Writing your own resume can be a real challenge. Most people find it difficult to glorify themselves, and even when they do, they reread it and think to themselves, “Am I this good?” “No way – this sounds totally pompous and overblown!” Why is it then that when you read someone else’s document, you are impressed (sometimes)? They did not seem to have a problem providing examples and winning details that make them shine.
Why does your resume matter? There are a few reasons, not the least of which is that this all-important document should do a few things for you:
- Engage your reader
- Give someone enough compelling information to help them understand your capabilities
- GET YOU THE INTERVIEW
Getting the interview is the goal. Your resume won’t get you the job – you still have to ace the interview. But a resume that is boring, blasé, and plain won’t get you the interview. You will not get the interview with a document that only references your responsibilities; it is the results of your work that people want to see.
Here are some tips to help make your Resume Matter:
1. Start with a strong headline to help the reader understand your focus/what you want to do.
2. Draft a short but compelling introductory section – this should be a complement of overarching skills/abilities peppered with an example to set the tone.
3. Write a core competency section with key words that speak to your strongest set of skills.
4. Consider what you are trying to achieve. Are you transitioning or staying in the same career? Pick the appropriate presentation tailored toward your goals.
5. Don’t be afraid to be a little self-promoting; I don’t mean lie! Present yourself in a capable manner. It’s ok to market yourself!
6. Include things that make you stand out: e.g. Board positions, volunteer work, language proficiency or other things that set you apart. Make sure they are relevant.
7. Reference certifications or licenses. They serve as a point of differentiation.
8. Don’t worry about the length. There is NO RULE. If you have enough meaningful information to fill two pages, go for it.
9. Put a second page header with your name and contact details. How will the reader know a second page is yours if there is nothing at the top to connect it to the first page?
10. Last, but not least: PROOFREAD IT! Errors will make your resume NOT MATTER.
Your resume will matter, but only if you make it so. Consider your goals, and get to know your audience. Getting the interviews is largely dependent upon how much you can make your resume matter to others.