12 Week career plan: Addressing The 'Dreaded Resume'

Jan 29, 2019 / By Kennet Alphy. C

Resume design

Your resume is a living document that, when coupled with your LinkedIn profile, can generate real eagerness.

That’s the reason why I’m addressing resume now, at this stage of the 12-week Career Diet. Your resume alone is not the opening to a new job. People think it accounts for 90 percent, but it’s really a 10 percent. That said, the question remains – How do I write the most effective resume?

Taking a living document approach achieves two important goals:

Real-Time Resume: First, you capture your role or new accomplishments while they are still fresh in your mind. Did you finish the past year target plan? Update your resume with that fact. Consider, In the new year, have you been assigned to a team launching a new marketing campaign to expand from B2B to B2C? Capture that in a few sentences in your resume.  With all these, can the resume be 2 pages? Yes, you can confine all these details and more in less than 2 pages.

LinkedIn Updates: Second, your “living document” approach translates into another important platform: your LinkedIn profile and other professional social media presence. Hiring managers and recruiters will check you out online; it’s one of the first things they do. Importantly, this will also ensure there are no significant differences between your resume and your LinkedIn profile.

Your Homework: Delving into the Details

Updating your resume or LinkedIn profile is time-consuming, so you may be tempted to procrastinate. Don’t do this to yourself! The first new overhaul will involve some work, but with a living document approach it becomes far less painful going forward.

Now the next question – What is the best resume layout? or Which format do most employers prefer for resumes. If you were to ask five different people, you’ll get 15 different answers. My top advice for writing a resume, as I addressed in a previous column, is keep it concise, focus on accomplishments, and leave room for white space to make it attractive to the eye.

More important is the story you tell, and keeping it fresh:

Do some brainstorming: Give yourself a series of exercises that help you get to the most important details. Set a timer for five minutes and write five bullet points. These points should include details about yourself, what you have done, describe a time when you overcame a challenge or exceeded your goals, your biggest accomplishments, and biggest failures.

Search and eliminate the meaningless phrases: As you review and revise your resume, scan for those meaningless words. Never, ever describe yourself as “innovative,” “energetic,” “a team player,” “a self-starter,” or a “good communicator.” These words and terms are so overused they have become meaningless.

Those who dive into this homework discover themselves far more convincingly than the rest. You’d be surprised how many people get this wrong. I have seen resumes of CEOs from large companies that are not much more than one job description listed after another.

Your Stretch Assignment

Ask for feedback from a mentor or trusted advisor. Don’t rely on your friend, partner or family member--it’s hard to get unbiased feedback from them, and criticism can make the relationship weird. Ask someone who knows you professionally and whose opinion you value if your resume reflects who you are and what you bring to an organization.

We’ve seen over a million resumes and reviewed tens of thousands. The errors that are seen across have a pattern to it and those who follow the above mode of writing do not fall into that segment. However, if you’ve not been able to address this and have a need to get your resume revamped, do get in touch with us. Our team consists of some of the best resume writers and resume critiques in the industry and the resumes we create have been well received in the Indian and International markets.

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