“I’m gonna make you see there’s nobody else here, no one like me. I’m special, so special… can I have some of your attention? Give it to me!” – Chrissy Hynde.
When a client comes to me with his or her resume, the first thing I ask myself as I read through their resume is “What makes this person different from everyone else?” Unfortunately, most resumes I see don’t tell me this. Instead, I see a long list of jobs they’ve held, and the responsibilities within each position. Is this enough? The short answer: nope.
Resumes are like any other piece of writing: they need to not only inform the reader, but compel them to keep reading (and, in this case, to pick up the phone to request an interview). On your resume, you should highlight your strengths and accomplishments so employers know that you would be an asset to their company.
Prioritize Your Information: The information on your resume needs to be prioritized. If it isn’t, you run the risk of a very long and/or boring resume that is certain to be overlooked. Keep the focus on what makes you stand out from others in your field.
Brag a Little (or a lot): Think hard about each position you have held and try and come up with a few things you did in that role that made a difference, and that make you feel proud. These accomplishments don’t need to be huge – perhaps you planned a small but successful fundraiser, or resolved a particularly confounding issue for a customer. Anything goes, really, as long as it made some impact. Mention these accomplishments at the top of your list of responsibilities for each job so that they are read first. Accomplishments are way more interesting than rote tasks.
Highlight Your Strengths: In your Profile or Summary section at the top, you have the chance to tell people why they should hire you. As a first step, brainstorm on a big sheet of paper. Write down all of the things people have commended you for – your ability to focus in the midst of chaos, your lightening-fast typing speed, your exceptional organizational skills, your inspiring leadership style. Then find a way to integrate these into your resume.
Don’t be afraid to have a resume that’s completely unique and reflects who you are. Use your voice, be yourself, and you’ll attract the right jobs for you.