Chances are, if you’ve passed those awkward teenage years (or perhaps are in the middle of them) then you’ve hit a point where you need to know how to write a resume. Unless you’ve inherited a lifetime of wealth or randomly fell into a cash cow situation, there’s this important part of life known as a job. If you want to get fancy, then you’re looking for a career.
How To Write a Resume that will SHINE
Stop fluffing around with fancy hollywood stunts and just tell me how to write a resume… ok, ok… I hear you. Let’s get onto it.
Step 1: Focus on being Straightforward
Now who’s telling who to knock off the theatrics? Employers don’t (typically) want to see fancy schmancy stuff. They just want to know if you:
- Will fit their culture.
- Have the capacity and skills they require.
- Can provide the solution to their needs.
So, if they want someone who can bring on the theatrics then do it. If not, just make sure they can easily see your skills and work history.
This isn’t to say you shouldn’t make your resume look pretty at all. A small splash of colour, a clean presentation, and attractive, easy to read fonts, can help you out. But… only so far as they make it easier for the potential employer to read the pertinant details!
So gather your work history, list your skills, and write them out. This is about making sure you’ve got all your information and you’re sharing it. However… if you find yourself going over 1 (maybe 2) pages, then get that axe to it and cut it back. Most employers only want a 1 page resume. Higher level career progressions may be interested in a more detailed 2 page resume.
Step 2: Keep it Honest
If you’re tempted to pad your resume out… just don’t. You may think it looks good to say you speak 5 languages, but if they hire you to start translating and you only speak english… badly… then all your efforts have been wasted.
You can, and should, highlight your strengths. In fact you can turn weaknesses and issues into opportunities. It’s just a matter of knowing how to view it and finding the gold while being fully and completely true to who you are.
Resumes padded with lies can stand out for the wrong reasons. Even if they do snag you an interview, the truth will eventually come out. Employers aren’t usually forgiving when it comes to being outright deceived.
Now this doesn’t necessarily mean you need to open up about every black mark in your history. However if it’s something you are legally required to disclose, then make sure this is done in the proper way. If it’s not legally required to be disclosed then you’ll need to weigh up the benefit of revealing this information. Often the resume is not the place to do this because you want employers to get a chance to know you and your capabilities first. On the other hand, depending on what the issue is, some employers value the openness and honestly in just being completely upfront about it.
Step 3: Make sure it’s Intriguing
Now that you’ve got the basics written and you’ve made sure it’s accurate and true, read over it again to ensure it is interesting. The whole point of your resume is to grab their attention so you get an interview.
Although you want to be straightforward and honest, you don’t want to be totally dull. Potential employers can be wading through hundreds of resumes to find the hits. Be engaging and interesting enough for them to want to learn more about you. You can do this both in the way you present yourself and the tidbits you reveal through your history.
Just be careful not to hide the really pertinant information. If they want to employ someone who understand Peru then don’t try to keep it as an ace up your sleeve by merely hinting that you lived there for several years. Let them know and give just enough detail for them to want to know what else you experienced.
Step 4: Fit the Niche
An employer wants to hire someone who is an investment for their business. That means they want someone who will help them make money. Show them you’re that person. Tell them how they will benefit by hiring you.
Now that you’ve got the basic resume ready it’s time to fine tune it for the job you’re going for. This is about fitting the niche that they need filled. Highlight the skills and experience that the employer is looking for. Remove information that is completely irrelevant and detracts from meeting that goal. This may require minor tweaks or could be a cause for some major adjustments. For example you might want to toss that high school experience week back in because it’s the only thing that directly fits what they’re looking for.
Ensure your words directly and clearly highlight how you fit the bill. This needs to come through in both your resume and your cover letter. While you can get away with a standard resume for some jobs, a cover letter should always be customised to the job being advertised.
Step 5: Be Employable
Before you send the resume off do one final check. Make sure you’ve addressed any red flags and haven’t set yourself up as an undesirable employee.
Proofread! Spelling mistakes and confusing sentences do not give a great impression. (Especially if your role requires communication!)
If you have issues that are hard to get around, such as learning disabilities, employment gaps, lots of short-lived jobs or a wide variety of employment types, consider getting additional advise and support. You may have better luck working with an employment agency who specifically caters to job seekers in your situation.
Furthermore, you want to be employable for THAT position. Readdress step 4 to make sure you fit the culture and can show that you fit it.
Bundle it up with your Cover Letter and send it off
Now that you know how to write a resume that SHINEs you can bundle it up with your carefully crafted cover letter and send it off. For even better results make sure you follow up you application with a phone call or a visit.
Good luck with your resume preparation!
If you would like any help preparing a resume that really SHINEs, feel free to contact me. I can help you get that resume clear and precise, tailor a compelling cover letter and even help you address those KPI requirements.
But, it’s not all about me. It’s about making sure you’ve got a good chance at getting an interview and landing that job. So… in case my style isn’t your cup of tea, here’s another option. A2 Workplace Consulting can provide career assistance, including resume preparation. You will be well taken care of with her services.
And that, my good folks, is how to write a resume that works for you.