Your Resume: Best Friend or Worst Enemy?

I am often asked to review clients’ resumes and provide feedback. While I try to accommodate these requests, I do first disclaim that I'm not an expert in resume writing and suggest that anyone seeking those services should hire a professional resume writer. However, what I can do is provide you with some general tips to improve yours right now:

  1. Look at job postings online and design your bullet points based on the requirements. If you're seeking a particular job or industry, it’s important to read as many postings online as you can and use the content to your benefit. The purpose here is to gain clarity on employers' needs by identifying the main points of the job descriptions. Then make sure the bullets on your resume answers those needs but make sure you use your own words (no one likes a plagiarizer) and always be truthful. It’s more than ok to be creative and show how your skills (both hard skills and soft skills) can contribute to an organization, however, it’s another to flat out lie.
  2. Use your resume as a self-promotion tool. If you don't promote yourself, no one will. This is where many people miss the mark. This doesn't mean be cocky or arrogant, but I’ve seen it time and time again, highly successful people diminish how valuable they are and how much they are capable of. And by the way, myself included. I recently had a conversation with a headhunter (not for a job… I met him at a friend’s house). He asked me about my professional background, looking for my resume, it seemed. After going through the play-by-play he commented on how impressed he was by how much I’ve done in my career. But if you asked me to sum up what I had told him I might have taken a different route, diminishing my extensive experience. Get the point?
  3. Your resume is for self-promotion, but ultimately it's just a formality. It will not land you any job. Only you will, in person. While you must have a top-notch resume, its purpose is to tell only part of the story. With the job market still tight at best, it's more important than ever for job seekers to take a creative approach to landing their next gig. Finding a job through a blind online submission is possible but it is almost as likely these days as winning the daily numbers lottery. In today's market I cannot stress enough how important it is to get in front of the interviewer either through networking, cold-calling, knocking on doors or through a LinkedIn introduction.


Posted on May 23, 2013 .