Recently, I came across a resume that was so beautiful…it looked more like a wedding invitation than a resume. It had detailed, colorful flowers cascading down from the top left corner, a stylish font and a very clean, modern presentation of the person’s work experience and education.
I couldn’t take my eyes off it, and then it hit me: When did resumes start looking like works of art?
Resumes are supposed to be functional, to the point and persuasive based on your skills, not something worthy of hanging on a wall!
Or should they???
As humans, we can’t help but be drawn to beautiful things. And obviously, artistic career fields require some visually stunning resumes. However, even for non-creative fields, incorporating creative concepts to format your resume may not be such a bad idea.
You don’t need flowers coming out of the corners of your resume, but you can play with things such as color, fonts and arrangement, which can lead to eye-catching results.
Perhaps you format your resume to resemble a newsletter, magazine article or LinkedIn profile. Design options to create an aesthetically pleasing resume are immense. There are hundreds of templates on Pinterest – from interesting formats to graphs, borders and headings – you should find quite a few options to give your old resume a massive makeover.
One thing to keep in mind is that the top one-third of your resume should be a super snapshot of your experience, including what type of job you’re targeting and why you’re qualified, then give a teaser into what else they’ll be reading. This video, “A resume expert reveals what a perfect resume looks like,” by Business Insider, gives specific pointers that will impress staffing professionals and hiring managers alike.
In today’s marketplace, “Objective” is a dirty word. It’s too vague and ends up emphasizing what you want, instead of what you can provide to the employer. Replace it with a “Professional Summary” which should read more like an elevator pitch of what you’re great at and why you’re qualified for that position. Then add a succinct list of your core competencies. All of this should be placed in the snapshot section.
The way your resume looks is important, but nothing can substitute for a qualified candidate. Now that you have some ideas to make your resume look good, you need some tips to help you write a resume to make you sound good too.
I found this perceptive and frank resume dissection by Ramit Sethi called “How to Write a Winning Resume with Ramit Sethi” where he shares some keen insights on how to think critically and write a winning resume. Below are some of his most valuable points.
Telling a narrative – You have to tell a story with your work experience and education that shows your interests and skills that suit an employer’s needs. Ramit says you need to ask yourself, “How would people describe your work?”
Every word needs to pull its weight – There’s no room for filler. Everything you say has to be relevant and strategic. You have to “put stuff in that is remarkable about yourself” and that “things that you take for granted are fascinating to other people.” When talking about what you did at a particular job, talk about what you accomplished. Mentioning achievements and quantifying results are how you show employers that you’re an asset.
Ramp up education – You probably only give a short description of your school, degree and year. Yet one way to stand out is to spruce up this part of your resume by mentioning relevant coursework. Describe classes, reports or studies you did that emphasizes your knowledge in core areas of expertise. Also, if you went to an elite school, it doesn’t hurt to place your education section in the snapshot section.
Write for the reader – You need to ask yourself what you want the reader to think, then devise statements that will lead them down that path. Ramit makes an excellent statement pointing out that “you have to craft what you want people to think of you by using your education and experience” and even slanting your volunteer experience toward that vision.
It can be challenging to condense your work experience into one page and at the same time “wow” your reader. If you’re a more experienced person with at least five years under your belt, most staffing professionals and hiring managers agree that two pages is acceptable.
The secret is that there’s so much you can leverage to showcase how valuable and capable you are. Remember: This is not your father’s resume, so don’t sell yourself short.
Once you have a resume that wows, your next step is to join our free community, Smart Track xCHANGE, a social sourcing collaborative ecosystem where you’re visible to staffing professionals and hiring managers. You’ll also have access to everything you need to stay current on hiring trends, the market and ideas on how to land the perfect job!
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