Are you in denial about the lifelessness of your resume? If you’re reasonably qualified for the type of job you’re seeking, but your resume consistently fails to win interviews, then you need to face the reality that your beloved document is dead. Try these professional resume writing techniques to resurrect your resume and job search today:
Number 3: The resume is blind
In your quest to reduce your job search workload, have you pared down your mission statement to something grand and vague, something that you hope will speak to every employer but in fact communicates to none? A resume without focus is blind; Without a clear focus on your resume, an employer can’t perceive what you’re offering; Without a concisely expressed vision on your resume, an employer cannot understand the big picture of how you fit into their organization. Solution #3: Provide a view of your resume so employers can see it
- Craft a creative career summary statement. A career summary statement is just that: a summary or profile of your career to date. Remember that your “career” includes all the paid and unpaid things you’ve done and that even if you don’t value this experience, an employer will. Indicate your career focus in your summary, then, in 2-3 awards, describe your most relevant skills and experience.
- Describe your creative gifts in terms that relate to the employer’s needs. Whatever your specific creative gifts are (and you have them), describe them in the body of your resume. Use adjectives and nouns to describe yourself in your resume, mini job descriptions, or success stories.
- Match your resume layout, font style, graphics, and paper to your career goal. If you’re looking for a job in a conservative industry like banking or insurance, choose a traditional layout, a formal-looking font, few graphics, and conservative white, beige, or gray paper.
- If you’re looking for a job in a highly creative industry like advertising or graphic arts, choose a creative or functional resume design, an unusual but legible font, creative graphics, and expressive textured paper, perhaps with a colorful border around the edge.
- How do you know what’s right for you and your preferred industry? Conduct informational interviews with recruiting professionals in that field and ask them what fits and what doesn’t.
- Use your resume to hint at your answers to interview questions. If you’re like most job seekers, you hate having to prepare answers to interview questions. A resume acts as a template for your interviews, so by considering the typical questions you’ll be asked and succinctly weaving snippets of your responses into your resumes, you’ll steer the interviewer in the direction they choose.
- Use your resume content to design a powerful cover letter to match. Don’t send resumes without cover letters! Don’t take shortcuts with cover letters! Don’t send the same generic cover letter to every employer you contact! Doing so will guarantee failure. If you prefer success, you will have to work for it, but it will be worth it.
- Select the 3-5 most critical points you made on your resume and repeat them in the second paragraph of your personalized cover letter. Weave some of the same adjectives and nouns you used on your resume into your cover letter.
Problem #4: The resume has no personality One of the biggest weaknesses of most resumes is an almost total lack of personality. You are selling yourself, not a piece of wood! Nothing adds life to a lifeless document like the singularity, so talk about yours. Solution #4: Give your resume personality to attract employers to you
- Pay attention to your uniqueness. Carefully consider the 5-7 adjectives or descriptive phrases that best describe you, your qualifications, your values, and your personality and integrate them into your career summary, success stories, and cover letter.
- Take those same 5-7 adjectives and identify other words that mean the same thing. Use your second set of adjectives and phrases and use them to describe yourself in interviews.
- Express who you really are, not who you think you should be. Select graphics, font style, and paper that express your essence and match the industry you hope to join. Know what makes you unique and describe it in writing for your resume/cover letter and verbalize it for interviews.
- Emphasize your people skills. Interpersonal skills are critical for many jobs; owning them can be your ticket to great opportunities, but you must a.) own them honestly; b.) know how/when to use them; c.) be willing to learn what you don’t know; and d.) be prepared to demonstrate your skills in your resumes, cover letters, and interviews.
- Be personal and warm instead of impersonal and objective. There is a difference between being personal and intimate when writing and speaking; strive for the former, but avoid the latter.
- Read company literature and websites and quote your own words while using your words to demonstrate the match between you. Use citations from other sources as appropriate.
- Be quotable. Let your research show: Let your reader know that you know something about your organization and its needs.
- Consider your personal style as a job seeker and as a professional. Do you know that the way you look for work tells an employer how you will perform on the job?
- Reflect on your personality and work-related values and design a job search and work style that expresses them. Make sure all your written materials, including thank you letters, convey that style.
Dead resumes create lifeless results! Work is too important in life to let the search wear you out. Revive your resume with these simple solutions and you’ll reinvigorate your job search and work life.