Resume Writing Tips
Your resume has to catch someone’s attention in the first 15 second they have it in their hand. You have to be a GREAT match to the job they have open or you’ll go straight to “Delete”.
- What is “genius” in a resume? The very best resumes are short and use compelling numerical examples in every bullet point, so that every responsibility is known WITHOUT HAVING TO MENTION THE RESPONSIBILITIES! For example, if I tell you that I have placed 47 engineers and managers in the plastics industry this year, you would know that I’m responsible for finding companies technical and managerial help. I don’t have to say it.
- Refine refine refine your resume. Do it again and again. Each time make it more specific, more focused on goals, and less meaningless garbage.
- The best written resumes use the straightest talk. Do NOT try to dazzle folks with your writing splendor. It comes across as “mightier than thou” and people don’t talk like that. Just say what you are trying to say simply, with numerical examples, with as few of words as possible.
- Speak the truth and don’t lie. Astute interviewers will “bore down” and ask for minute details on your resume. If you can’t answer in detail, they assume you are lying, and they punt. Make sure your resume is accurate and make sure that you can discuss every line item. As an example, one of our candidates had on his resume that he’d gone through Covey’s 7-habits training. When he couldn’t name a single habit, the hiring manager told him the interview was over and sent him home. Should he remember all 7? Probably not. Should he remember 1? Probably so. If it’s on your resume, make sure you understand it.
- Keep it as short as possible. Unless you are a 30 year CEO, you should be able to keep it to 2 pages. You only need on the resume what’s pertinent to the job at hand. If you were a cook, dishwasher or bartender in high school or college, and are applying for a Director of Operations position, those jobs don’t belong.
- Don’t use the word “I”. You can say “Achieved 37% growth in new domestic products”. Notice there is no I. It’s a turnoff to see the word I over and over.
- Tailor your resume for the job you are applying to. You need to focus like a laser not a shotgun. Your resume should “mirror” the requirements of the job, as much as possible, without falsifying your resume.
- Use concrete, numerical examples. If you can’t remember an exact number, use your best estimate, but make sure it’s close. If you worked in a $15MM company, don’t say you had $200MM in sales. Avoid outright lies at all costs.
- MAKE SURE there are no spelling errors, all of the capitalization is correct (do not under any circumstances use all caps to write your resume), that your punctuation is correct, that your spacing and fonts are consistent, that abbreviations are minimized, and that it is error free in all ways. Ask people to review it and offer suggestions. Ask your recruiter to do the same. When on interviews, ask if they have any suggestions for your resume.