Step 1 to Land a New Job: Write a Killer Resume

So you’ve heard the job market is hot – and has been for a long time.  You’ve decided now is the time to make your break for a new job…but you have not changed jobs in a while.  For most people, even really experienced people, the process can make you feel unsure and a bit anxious.  

HR4D has created a 5-step guide to help you land your perfect job.  Included are the 5 main steps in the process with 5 key tips for each step.  I’ll be sharing each of these steps with you in a series over the next 5 weeks, but if you are one of those people who want it all at once, email us here and we can send you the guide now! 

Step 1:  How to write a killer resume  

  1. Remember the purpose– to get you an interview! Sometimes people think they should tell their professional story in their resume, including every last detail from every job they have ever held.  Or they want to include information that gives insights into their personality.  For the person screening resumes (likely in HR), that is just distraction.  The only goal of your resume is to get you an interview – full stop.  Provide the information that tells HR you are qualified and should be considered for an interview.  You can share your personality in the interview, but first let’s get you there.
  2. Prioritize your information.  Put your most important or impactful information at the top of the resume.  Also, under each job put your best highlights at the top.  You should assume the recruiter is only reading the first few lines and skimming the info at the top of each section.  According to The Ladders, recruiters spend an average of 6 seconds reviewing a resume – 6 seconds! You have to make sure they see the best stuff.
  3. Highlight your results.  This is probably the number one mistake I see on resumes. Don’t list out your job responsibilities or give a shortened version of your position description.  Most recruiters understand the main job duties in whatever job you most recently had.  Your job responsibilities don’t make you stand out.  Your accomplishments are what make you stand out.  They demonstrate the value you added in your job.  Be sure to include as many facts and metrics you can to highlight those accomplishments.  If there is one spot to spend the most time on when crafting your resume – this is it! Really think about the results you are most proud of and be sure you highlight those.
  4. Don’t get tossed aside.  Make sure to take the time to remove anything that will put your resume on the cutting floor.  This includes things like typos or grammatical errors.  It also means don’t include things that were popular on resumes 10 years ago but aren’t anymore – things like your mailing address or “references available upon request”.  And, don’t include a photo.  These are things that call attention to your resume in a negative way. And, unlike celebrities, in this case – not all attention is good attention.
  5. Keep it to two pages max!  I know this one is hard.  For some of you, your experiences span 20-30 years and you have so many wonderful accomplishments to highlight.  But, remember – it is unlikely anyone will read the full two pages. Anything over two pages likely never gets looked at, and the recruiter may wonder why you can’t be more succinct. Find a way to make it fit on two pages, no matter how hard.

Resume writing can be a tedious task and especially difficult if you have enjoyed a long tenure at your current company.    

I recommend keeping your resume fresh and setting a reminder for yourself every 6 to 12 months to add what you accomplished recently.  It can be hard to remember all those great things you did if too much time passes. Good luck writing your killer resume!!

Next up in this series – Use Your network.

Jennifer is a seasoned leader and executive coach with more than 20 years experience including as a Chief Human Resources Officer overseeing the HR and Communications functions. She is a Professional Certified Coach through the International Coaching Federation.

HR4D’s mission is to ensure our client organizations fulfill their visions, by adopting their goals as ours, creating solutions that are right for them, and making the people who hire us professionally successful.  Contact us to learn more!