I don’t know many people who enjoy writing a resume. Usually it’s the last thing we want to do and we procrastinate to the very last minute. Instead of thinking about your resume as a drag, consider it the beginning of a conversation with your new job. Here’s a strategy on the best kept secrets on how to write a resume especially if you are short on time!
Don’t think about the job you are writing about
Don’t write from the perspective of the past. Write your past experiences with the future in mind. I know this sounds a bit crazy, but think about your next job. What kind of skills will your future employer want? Examples are, teamwork, communication, event planning, detail oriented, etc.
Now, with that in mind, start your bullet with an action word that matches the skill. If you have your action-word aligned with your future employer’s favorite skill, now think of one task from your last job; not two or three or four. We are not summarizing our job tasks here. We are showcasing a specific set of skills and using our previous jobs to do that.
Please don’t forget the outcome!
I have seen many resumes simply forget the outcome. We are used to writing the tasks of our jobs. But the outcome is what makes the whole bullet sing your praises. What happened after you did the task? It doesn’t have to be that you increased revenue by 500% in the last quarter (unless you really did!). It just needs to be what happened next. For example, improved customer satisfaction, increased a positive team dynamic, streamlined processes for a faster result, etc.
The most read bullet on a resume is…
Drum roll please… the first bullet under your first experience. This sentence tends to be the most commonly read bullet on your entire resume. So if there is one bullet you might want to put the most attention to detail, it is this one. The first bullet needs to communicate to your true brilliance, your best accomplishment to date.
For some reason, most people know what they are going to find in that first sentence (a task, a skill, etc) and it’s at the top of the page so our eyes naturally fall there first. So, this can determine whether the reader will skim anything else. The lesson, making sure that first sentence is excellent is a best practice on how to write a resume.
Formatting is an important part of how to write a resume
After reading the first bullet under the first experience, whatever the person reads next is subjective. Keep in mind though that a messy format can easily lose your ability to get into the ‘yes’ pile. All experiences need to look the same, have the title in the same spot, the company name in the same spot, the location, and dates ranges. This is so the reader can scan for information they want or is relevant to them. So, a consistent format can help serve a large audience, because no matter what they choose to look at next, the reader can find it easily.
Sometimes less is more
Remember, a resume is scanned, it is not read. This doesn’t get you out of figuring out how to write a resume with the best sentences because you don’t exactly know which sentence will be read. Also, the white space matters. Don’t cram as much as possible so that the reader has to strain to read the sentences. White spaces can also draw your eye. If the bullet looks easy to consume and not too wordy, it has a better chance of being read. Remember that you want to be able to talk about your experience, and if you are talking, you’re interviewing!
I hope these resume writing tips help with the resume writing process. As always, Wolfgang Career Coaching can help you more with getting your great skills into a professionally written resume to make you stand out. If you don’t want to tackle it yourself, book with me and we can get started today!
Side note: it’s true that keywords matter in this day and age. But nothing beats networking. So, where would I spend my time after the resume is networking!