5 Resume Tips that Get Results
Via Bentley University : Much of the job interview process is out of your control—what questions you’re asked, who else is competing for the role, whether the hiring manager happens to be in a good mood—but your resume is one aspect that you can completely control and use to your advantage.
During a recent career webinar sponsored by Bentley University’s Alumni Career Services, Jay Block, employment expert and author of “2,500 Keywords to Get You Hired,” shared strategies for creating a value-based resume that markets you in the best possible light.
“A value-based resume communicates to prospective employers what significant results you can deliver better than other qualified candidates,” Block says. “Spend the time and put in the effort in creating a really special document.”
How to Create a Resume that Markets Your Skills
Here are five of Block’s strategies for transforming your resume into a powerful self-marketing document:Get Excited About What You Off
1. Get Excited About What You Offer
If you’re not enthusiastic about the achievements and skill set you offer employers, then why should anyone else care?
“We don’t have sports agents to sell us,” Block says. “You have to get excited about planning your future.”
Communicate your excitement by creating a reader-friendly resume that’s concise but engaging. Use bullet points, shaded boxes and other formatting for the resume you print out or email to hiring managers.
However, the content should still be able to stand on its own when you remove the formatting for applicant tracking systems. For applicant tracking systems, you can customize that version to include language found in the actual job description.
2. Ditch the Chronological Obituary Format
Many resumes use a boring chronological format that reads like an obituary of work you’ve done in the past. Instead, play up your achievements and your ability to produce results.
“A resume without achievements is like a report card without grades,” Block says. “Most employers don’t want to know just what you did—they want to know what you produced and how well you performed.”
He suggests using words like enhanced, spearheaded, transitioned, consolidated or merged to show results. Then save your resume with a relatable name, including your last name, the word resume and the title from the job listing.
3. Ignore Resume “Rules”
Don’t feel constrained by resume guidelines you’ve heard in the past if they don’t make sense for your situation.
“As long as you’ve thought strategically about what you’re doing, there are no rules,” Block says.
For instance, some resume advice will tell you to include professional affiliations, outside interests and other items on your resume. Block says this decision should be made on a case-by-case basis, depending on whether the potential employer will want to see that information.
“Save some things for the interview,” Block says. “You don’t want to conduct the interview on the resume. The resume is a carrot we’re dangling.” Use it to entice the hiring manager to learn more.
For example, you can mention an interesting project you worked on in your MBA class, but go into more detail during the interview.
4. Focus on Critical Messages
Just as presidential candidates only run on six to eight key messages, your resume needs to focus on communicating your critical messages instead of telling your entire life story. These key message should include the labor assets that you bring to the job (skills, qualifications, traits and intangible assets, such as reputation), as well as what differentiates you.
For instance, if you’re a consultant, your differentiator might be that you don’t just deliver work to clients; you also seek referrals and assist with business development to help the company grow.
Focus on in-demand skills to get an employer’s attention. Here are some of the hottest jobs and skills right now, based on market research commissioned by Bentley.
5. Include a Reference Portfolio
Like the short endorsements on the back of a book, the reference portfolio section gives you instant credibility. This page should appear as the last page of your resume and include a paragraph-length testimonial from several references, along with their contact information.
This is Block’s secret weapon, and he suggests including the following message at the end of an email, so the hiring manager knows to look for it: “P.S. I’ve included my reference portfolio to assure you that the information contained in my resume is truthful and accurate.”
4 Questions to Answer in Your Resume
When you’re done incorporating these tips into your resume, reread the document to make sure it answers these four questions:
- Who are you and why am I reading this?
- What results can you produce better than other qualified candidates?
- What are your skills, strengths, talents and qualifications?
- Where have you produced results in the past?
Most importantly, believe in yourself and your ability to land a great job. “In selling anything, believe in the product,” Block says. “When you present and create a resume that really promotes you and is exciting, it’s the best motivational tool.”
Now that you have an amazing resume, start getting ready for all of those interviews!
Susan Johnston Taylor has covered career and money management for publications including AOL Jobs, The Boston Globe, FastCompany.com and USNews.com.
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