Tell a story with your resume – adventures first! Lead with your best material. What’s the most impressive thing you have to offer? What can you do better than anyone? What makes you worth having around? List everything in order of importance – to the reader. Remember your resume may only get a 10-second glance and if there’s nothing unique or interesting to draw the reader in for more, you’ve lost your chance at an interview.
Tell your best challenge/adventure stories, your actions and the results. CAR is a simple concept and a great resume (and interview) strategy. CAR: C – challenge, A – action, R – result. High impact action-oriented achievements are the keys to an influential resume. What challenges have you faced? How did you react? How did the organization benefit from your efforts? If your professional actions had a consistently positive and profitable outcome, your worth as an employee is practically undeniable.
Quantify your experience to prove yourself. It’s easy to ignore someone who says they’re a “skilled sales professional,” but how about the guy that has a bullet for “$20 million in sales / $10 million gross profit this quarter?” Sales is a particularly easy example, but regardless of your industry, the more quantified and specific your resume is, the more believable and interesting it is. Names, numbers, dollars, percentages, dates and places add credibility. Employers are interested in how you can help their bottom line, so show them metrics that prove you can and have contributed to the organizations you’ve been a part of.
Show a clear career progression. A resume isn’t a biography, but you need to show a consistently mobile upward path. It’s easier to feel confident about people with a crystal clear trajectory toward greater success. You’ll have to be more creative about weaving your career story if you have employment gaps, short stints or other challenges.
Don’t explain what you did where – explanations take such a dreadful time! Describe yourself and what you’ve done for the organizations you worked for, not the jobs you’ve held. Never use “responsible for” or “duties included” in your resume. Job descriptions do precisely what you don’t want your resume to do: make you sound like everyone else. Just because you managed not to get fired from your last job doesn’t mean you’re actually worth hiring. Sorry. Your resume is a sales document not a user manual, so keep the explanations to a minimum.
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