Your resume is a key aspect of your job search- here’s how taking the time to prepare it can pay off.
When you begin a job search, chances are one of the first things you do is pull up your resume and “dust it off”, and for good reason. A resume is one of the most important pieces of your job application– it gives employers an overview of who you are, what you’ve accomplished in your career, and what you can bring to the table in your new position.
It’s vital that you take the time to ensure that your resume is the best possible reflection of your professional self– not just to land the job, but to potentially increase your offer. Research shows that a well-written resume can boost your earning potential by nearly 7%!
Read on to learn the best ways to make your resume shine.
Why putting time into your resume is important
Did you know that the average hiring manager only looks at a resume for 6-7 seconds? That’s not much– so you need to do everything you can to make your resume strong and stand out from the crowd. A strong resume will do several things, including:
- Show your relevant skills and experience
Your resume should show your best professional self and highlight your skills and achievements. It will also allow hiring managers to get an idea of what kind of worker you are and what your career has looked like thus far.
- Grab the hiring manager’s attention
While it may be unwise to decorate your resume in neon pink and green, it’s still important to make the hiring manager look twice. This means putting important information, like your contact information, objective or personal statement, or most recent job experience right at the top.
- Describe what you can contribute
It’s important to keep in mind that the hiring manager is looking to fill a need, so make sure your resume provides a clear answer to why you are the perfect candidate to fill their particular need.
- Provide a picture of who you are
Culture is a key part of any company, and a smart hiring manager will look at who a potential employee is and how they might fit into the company culture at large. Your resume is a great opportunity for you to show who you are professionally and even personally, if you choose to include a hobbies and interests section.
What not to include in your resume
Because a resume is such a key part of any job application, hiring managers are often quick to discard any that don’t meet the bar. According to Forbes, some of the top reasons resumes are rejected include:
- Too much irrelevant information (i.e. work experiences over 10 years old, job skills in another field)
- Missing keyword phrases
- Lack of continuity with other application materials like a cover letter or portfolio
- Not focusing on what you can bring to the table
- Typos and poor editing/grammar
- Too much fluff or cliché terms
- Unprofessional email address
- Not following delivery instructions
- Unnecessary pictures, charts, or graphics
- Too long (remember, rule of thumb is one page in most cases)
- Bad or inconsistent formatting
How to create a resume as a Business Leader
Creating a resume as a business leader presents its own set of challenges. Gone are the days where you were methodically listing out your duties as an intern or entry-level employee– now, your responsibilities probably span a much larger scale and may be harder to describe in a few sentences. Here are five tips and tricks for writing a resume as a business leader:
- Be specific
Since you’re likely further along in your career as a leader, chances are you’ve developed a unique management style or specific skills. Here’s your chance to demonstrate that! Make it clear what kind of leader you are and support it with tangible examples from your past work experiences.
- Utilize keyword phrases
This is another place to be specific. Hone in on what ‘need’ the job you’re applying for is looking to fill, and tailor your resume to fit that need. As a business leader, you know your field well– use that knowledge to specify and present yourself as the best possible candidate.
- Quantify where you can
Did you increase revenue by 5% last quarter? Train 20+ new employees? Open three new locations? Highlight these numbers– they make it easy for hiring managers to see how effective you are as a business leader and allow them to quickly understand what you’ve accomplished.
- Choose your action words carefully
It’s a well-known resume tip to utilize action words (i.e. Executed, Coordinated, Implemented), but as a manager, you should be cognizant of how the action words you choose reflect your management style. Using words like ‘executed’ vs. ‘coordinated’ can paint a very different picture in the hiring manager’s head.
- Brainstorm work experiences
Before editing your resume, sit down and brainstorm a list of all your work experience. This can be quantifiable achievements, like revenue increases, or interpersonal ones, like guiding an employee through a difficult task. Then select the ones that you feel best show your management style and fit the job description to include in your resume.
Resume Templates for Business Leaders
A template can be a valuable tool for creating a resume as a business leader. Templates provide structure, inspiration and examples to help you create a successful resume. Here are a few of the best online resume templates and examples for business leaders:
Resume Writing Tips and Tricks
When creating your resume, whether you’re new to the workforce or a seasoned business leader, there are several things you can do to help make it as strong as it can be. Here are our top BLANK tips for writing a resume.
- Stick to the point
One of the biggest rules of resume writing is to keep it to no more than one page in length unless you have a very good reason for it to be longer– such as an extensive career or significant amount of applicable work experience.
Carefully consider all of your work experience and how it relates to the job you’re applying for, and eliminate any experience that is more than a decade old or is irrelevant to the job posting.
Including every single one of your past work experiences can make your resume cluttered and too long, which can draw attention away from your relevant experience.
- Highlight key skills and experience
While it may be burdensome, it’s a good idea to tailor your resume to each job you apply for rather than using the same resume over and over again. Targeting your resume can give your resume a boost through utilizing more job-specific keywords and highlighting your most applicable experiences.
Prioritize mentioning any skills, qualifications and experiences that fit the job you’re applying for in no more than 3-4 former positions. If you don’t have any relevant work history, get creative– think about how the work history you do have can be applied to the new position. You can also focus on your skills or other qualifications.
- Optimize for ATS
It’s no secret that many companies are using Application Tracking Systems (ATS) to collect and scan applicants’ resumes. This means that your resume’s first test will be passing through this technology, rather than a human hiring manager.
To help get your resume through this first stage, you can use keywords from the job posting in your resume. Try copying and pasting the job description into a word cloud generator to see the most-used terms, or create a special “core competencies” section on your resume to highlight applicable terms.
- Be specific and quantifiable
Providing a laundry list of past job duties isn’t what a resume is for; it should serve as a paper highlight reel of your best accomplishments and experiences. Focus on including specific achievements, such as “increased revenue by 6%” as opposed to “experienced with budget management”. This shows the hiring manager exactly what you can do for them in the new position.
Avoid listing out too many qualitative or abstract traits, like “good communicator” or “works well with others”– these phrases don’t tell the hiring manager anything about what you bring to the table.
- Be a stickler for grammar
It may seem like a small thing, but a single typo could end up being the difference between you and another candidate landing the job. Go through your resume carefully and look for spelling errors, grammatical mistakes, and continuity, like consistent spacing and formatting. You can also ask a friend or colleague to read it over to catch anything you might have missed.
Writing a resume doesn’t have to be a dreaded task– use these tips and tricks to break down the process and make your resume work for you! Remember that.