The world of work revolves around people and relationships. A person will read your resume and a person will greet you in an interview. The most important function of your resume is to let the readers get a sense of who you are, what you have to offer the company, and how you will complement the other staff members. Find your own way to position your brand: tell your story, share what makes you unique, and give them a glimpse of what they can expect if you’re offered the job.
There are many nuances to resumes and rarely do two people see them the same way. You probably wish that there was a one-size-fits-all recipe for a good resume, but in truth, there isn’t one. The resume that depicts you the most accurately and has good results is the one that is right for you. However, you still need to invest time and effort in crafting a well-written and engaging resume. It requires reflection and hard work to present yourself in a compelling, relevant and meaningful way - and make a prospective employer curious enough to want to learn more about you and your career goals and objectives in an interview.
Here are some recommendations:
Create a strong lead with the most important facts first
Do not leave it to chance whether your readers pick up important information. Your resume is read from top to bottom just like a news story. Ensure that essential information comes first. For instance, if you have worked the last 10 years it is usually a good idea to list your professional experience before your educational history. Begin your resume with a strong and branded profile that positions you for the opportunity you are seeking, conveys the relevant features of your career, and outlines what distinguishes you from others with similar qualifications.
Be easy to find and easy to like
Resumes today should be optimized for search engines while also written to appeal to the humans who will be reading and evaluating them. When you apply for an advertised job or register with a staffing agency, your resume will be compiled in a database with resumes of other applicants. It needs to be easy to find when conducting a search so make sure it contains relevant keywords. But do not go overboard; you want your resume to be found but also to be readable and understandable. Take advantage of the design and formatting tools in MS Word—such as bullet points, colors, bolded text, tables, and different fonts—to increase readability and make important information stand out. Small tweaks can make a huge difference.
Be deliberate and own the content
Often HR staff will be the first to assess whether you are a suitable candidate for an interview. They are not experts on the position you are applying for nor will they have expertise on the terminology used. Avoid unnecessary abbreviations and internal jargon that people outside your field may not understand. If you leave the responsibility to the reader to interpret what you mean, it will only create frustration and lessen your odds.
The clearer you are on what job you want to do and who you want to do it for, the more effective your resume will be. Analyze advertisements for positions of interest and talk to recruiters who specialize in your type of roles and industry to gain knowledge about the competencies and qualifications that are most in demand. Use this information as a starting point to showcase carefully selected and specific examples that prove you have the required expertise. Your resume should provide brief snapshots of the key elements of your career as relevant to your target role, so choose your words wisely.
In addition to Lene Øveland Berge’s work with Right Management in Norway, she is the author of the new book “UNCOVER. POSITION. THRIVE: Your Guide to Job Search & Career Growth” that provides valuable guidance and insights about resume writing, including best-in-class sample resumes and LinkedIn profiles.