How’s that for a short and sweet article?
If your understanding of a resume is a recap of title, duties and company names, we have a lot of catching up to do!
Many, many, many, years ago a resume might have been this type of recap. Something that served for both applying for a job and filling out an application. But today, something like that is like an office having a rotary phone with no voicemail. Completely inappropriate and utterly useless.
An effective resume tells your value story, in your voice to get you the recognition and connection to achieve your career goals. It sets up all your career communication: interviewing, networking, LinkedIn, etc.
Let’ dive in by taking a look at what a resume is and is not before we get into why it is critical for your career.
Your resume is not about you.
It is about the reader. Do you know why I don’t state something like “looking for a position where I can add value and grow” on the top of your resume? Because the reader doesn’t care what you want.
They care what you can do for them. What’s in it for them? What do they gain by hiring you?
It is not a biography, tell all or epic novel.
One of the hardest parts of building your brand is taking out what is not important to your audience. The reason this is hard is two-fold:
1. We may get over excited wanting to explain the depth of our background. No one cares about every little project or task we’ve done. It’s too much.
2. We devalue ourselves and don’ think anything is important because it’s ‘just what we do’
It’s a what have you done lately world so your most recent experience is most critical. However, demonstrating a history of growth and increasing impact is equally important. Let’s just leave off the part time job you had in college since you graduated college 20 years ago.
A story that you define the narrative.
Your resume is the opportunity to tell your story they want you want it understood, not necessarily the way it looks on paper.
It is a way to make that oddball job or unfortunate position fit into the greater narrative.
Every experience brings with it the opportunity to learn. Good or bad, there is always something to learn. And that is part of your story.
For the good jobs, did you fix a certain problem, create a new revenue stream, improve the customer experience? Why were you there and what value did you bring?
A future journey not past narrative.
If I were to tell you what I did in a previous life working in the financial industry, compliance things, it might make you yawn. It might also make you wonder how that ties into me being a career storyteller. I would need to tie the two together to make you care or at least be interested.
The way to do that is to use your future to define your past. If your target role is a promotion, find out what is important for that position. What are the responsibilities, how is success measured, what skills are needed? These answers become your guide to writing your background.
Your bullet points now will describe demonstration of how you have used those skills in previous roles. How you had similar successes. Proof of possessing desired skills and traits.
Is it beginning to make sense that your resume is not just a fact sheet thrown together to fill out a job application? Good!
Beyond the paper
An effective resume is your value proposition that comes together at the intersection of your brand and the market needs.
So how is it the foundation of career communication (LinkedIn, networking, interviewing, etc.)?
You have the blueprint. By demonstrating your value, the ROI for hiring you in your voice you know how to convey your value in any forum to educate, engage, and excite.
BUILDING AN EFFECTIVE RESUME
Let’s do a quick overview of how we build a resume that serves as this important foundation.
Change your mind set.
We start with knowing it’s a story, not a data sheet.
We discover what is important to your audience and use it as a guideline.
We prove value, skills, success based on the measurements your audience is looking for.
Why do I care?
For each role there was a purpose for you being there – what was it? Did you achieve that goal? Did you make a difference?
For your bullet points, no one cares what you were hired to do. They care what happens when you did it. Take a list of responsibilities and turn them into proof points.
What was the problem (similar to your ideal job, company or industries problems), how did you solve it? Who did you work with, how did you work with them, what did you do, how did something benefit? The beneficiary could be a client, coworker, team, process, idea or company.
Describe the scenario to give context.
– Increased sales 25% – So what? Did you inherit a book of business?
That is a meaningless number without proof. Your audience wants proof because they are not going to believe you just because you said so.
– Increased sales 25% by reestablishing ties with neglected secondary partners….
– Increased sales 25% within six months by designing new widget for whodonits….
– Increased sales 25% after eradicating longstanding backlog in processing…..
Make it personal.
Become alive within your resume. Make it sound like you. How do you think, how do you approach a project, how do you strengthen relationships, how do you do what you do? Use words that resonate with you.
When it comes down to two equally qualified individuals, the one that fits in with the culture is going to win.
How will they know if you fit in the culture if you don’t let yourself shine through? Use words that resonate with you to let your voice be recognized.
Putting it all together.
Now that you have the idea of the building blocks of your foundational resume, how does this translate to all other career communication?
Because you know how to tell the story. All the hard work and heavy lifting has been done in the resume.
More than likely you will be asked, “tell me about a time when….”. You have the answers in your bullet points. Here was the problem, here is how I solved it by working with whom, how and here is the result.
You’re following the good old STAR method – Situation, Task, Action, Result.
Too often we use our title as our introduction. You give the power of meaning to your audience. But, since you now know your value, you can engage and set the tone.
The opening “I’m a financial advisor” now becomes “I’m a retirement coach. My clients actually retire early with solid financials to enjoy their life.”
Another benefit of your resume is it gives you the confidence to tell your story in an authentic way. It’s not made up, it’s not foo-foo language that doesn’t sound like you. It is the you that you have forgotten about and can now easily communicate.
It’s the you that is going places.
If your resume doesn’t excite you, sound like you or represents the you that is going places, let’s talk. I want you to discover the you that is hidden and ready to move forward in your career.
As a triple certified as a Professional Resume Writer, Career Coach and Social Media Brand Analyst I help amazing professionals get career happy.
Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more.