Writing a Resume that Works

If you are like most professionals, you will eventually reach a point in your employment or career lifecycle where it makes sense to look for a new career challenge.

These days, resumes and LinkedIn profiles are the primary communication tools needed to succeed in a job search. As much as everyone would prefer to outsource their resume writing to a third-party professional, we have seen time and time again that the best resumes (or Linkedin profiles) are the ones that the executive have written themselves.

We know that crafting resume bullet points is not always easy, even for seasoned executives. That said, we maintain that a thoughtful and well-written resume (and LinkedIn profile) can make the difference and ultimately save time.

Updating a resume may seem like a daunting task, but it doesn’t have to be. Use these tips from our recruiters to help your resume stand out and highlight your accomplishments.

The Basics

Recruiters are searching for important information quickly and may only look at your resume or Linkedin profile for a few seconds. As an example of the 2021 volume, our team will view close to 50,000 LinkedIn profiles and thousands more resumes in our database.

Nothing throws us off more than a ‘skills resume’ or ‘reverse chronological format. A recruiter is trained to look for and digest information like a speed reader. The first glance is very high level, so formatting and hierarchy of information are essential if you ultimately want to help a recruiter know when to take more time with your resume and ultimately land an interview. It may seem obvious, but here are a few key things to consider while drafting your resume.

Hierarchy of Information

The top part of your resume needs to briefly communicate your years of experience, industry focus, job discipline, and leadership level. It is also ideal to briefly highlight your career trajectory, including where / what you would like to land next. Try to keep this to 3-4 factual sentences with as few adjectives as possible.

Keywords

Next, it is helpful to have a section highlighting your expertise in 2-3 columns of crucial words or phrases to help recruiters identify your strengths. Examples might include: Strategic Planning, Go to Market Strategy, Digital Marketing, Consumer Insights, Change Management, Financial Planning and Analysis, S&OP, or P&L Management.

Work Experience

The following section will cover your work experience. Keep it tidy! Make sure dates, bullet points, and job titles align on the page. Keep it uniform. All headers should be the same font size and color. If you have worked at smaller or lesser-known companies, it helps to include a brief description of the company for each of the places where you have worked.

Length

Some say that a resume shouldn’t be longer than two pages. One page may be a good rule of thumb for 12 or fewer years of experience, but two pages are fine if you need more real estate. That said, keep it tight and try to limit it to 3-5 bullet points per role. When applying for a specific position, you can add more context to a cover letter, but your resume must be concise.

Consistency is key

Whether you use periods, bullets, or different fonts, make sure to stay consistent with it.

Fill in The Blanks

The most challenging part for any resume writer is writing out your achievements in the experience section.


Here are a few tips

Include 2-3 bullet points listing how you’ve impacted the business – This shouldn’t be your job description. Take time to think about what you have brought to the table in this role. How did you make it better? What metrics did you crush? This should be personalized and quantifiable.

Recruiters like to see numbers – how many people did you manage? What percentage did you grow revenue and EBITDA? How many impressions did your ad campaign receive? Consider the scope of your roles and include details on staff size, budget, and reporting relationships.

Important reminder: Take care not to share confidential or proprietary information. Anything that is public information is fair game, but sharing too much company performance information can be viewed negatively by some recruiters. If the information is confidential, you can look for alternate ways to communicate results such as ‘x percentage of growth’ or ‘doubling the business’ descriptively.

Paragraph formatting makes it hard for recruiters to find what they want, so stick to the basics and use bullet points. Wherever possible, combine bullet points to create more efficiency. Rather than re-stating the same bullet points for each position, think about how each experience was different or unique and the various ways you have been successful.
You’re Ready For What’s Next!

Finally, don’t be afraid to brag about yourself on your resume. You have worked hard to acquire the experience and skills you have; let that shine! When you do that interview, glance over these virtual interview steps, and you’ll be on your way to that snazzy new job.

Writing a great resume can be a bit grueling, but it’s worth it!