Resumes that impress — no matter your background
When you’re looking for a job, your resume is a chance to sell yourself to a potential employer. Typical advice on writing a good resume is to describe your worth to prior companies. But instead of simply listing job duties, you should explain how you positively affected the bottom line. Show a prospective employer why you would be a valuable addition.
But sometimes your positions don’t have the proof points to fit that mold. You may have to think outside the box to describe the impact of your experience without obvious benchmarks — like driving millions in profit.
Design should dazzle
If you don’t have a lot of experience or a huge list of accomplishments from your previous positions, a visually appealing design can showcase your experience in an eye-catching way so you stand out. You can hire a professional to craft a beautiful resume, but there are many free templates available online through resources like Canva.
[Pro Tip: Know what to leave off your resume. Focus on your experience.]
Describe your strengths
Include an overview or profile section at the top packed with impactful words that describe what makes you different from and better than other candidates. Here are some examples:
- Top-notch communications skills
- Skilled at handling sensitive information
- Incredible project manager
- Excellent at prioritization and organization
Think about the unique skills you bring to the table that others might have.
Demonstrate your impact
Maybe you didn’t personally lead the company in double-digit growth or create programs that led to millions in savings, but every employee has an impact. Think about the ways your work helped others — your manager or boss, your team, your department — plus improvements and achievements. Describe your abilities and how your work positively affected others, not just your duties. Get creative with your description while still being truthful about your duties.
Old: Kept the boss’s calendar, scheduled meetings.
Bold: Optimized executive time through thoughtful calendar management. Balanced needs and confidential requests of executive’s direct reports with creative and fast-paced scheduling efficiencies.
Slightly adjust and tailor your resume to target multiple types of jobs so that it directly relates to the position or industry. This can be tough if you are applying to a bunch of different positions, but you can create several types of resumes for various job titles or openings and then send the appropriate one when you apply.
Add training, development, and volunteerism
Certificates, training, and places you have volunteered all round you out as a potential candidate and help show the recruiter your personality. Be sure to include software programs you know, classes you’ve taken, and committee work. If you volunteer in your community, include that as well. You never know what will make a difference to someone scanning your resume.
Make it letter-perfect
No matter how many times we look over our work, it’s easy to miss typos, spelling mistakes, and grammatical errors. Use trusted methods to double-check your resume for mistakes. Consider asking a friend to review it — you may be surprised at what they find. Or, get professional resume review assistance through programs like Resume Services by Indeed.