You know which job you want, and you’re eager to apply for it. The trick is figuring out how to make your background look neat and tidy on your resume, which should only include the details that apply precisely to the job you’re applying for.
You sit down to write your resume and stare at a blank page with that obnoxious little cursor flashing at you waiting for you to start typing. You can’t decide what to include and what to leave out...and how are you supposed to know the right order in which to list everything you’ve done?
If the whole process feels a bit like a guessing game, here are 3 things that will help:
1. Choosing the most powerful lines.
The most powerful lines that pack more of a punch are the ones that answer the following questions:
a) How did you make your prior workplace better? Did you boost morale or improve a system?
b) How did you cut costs? Maybe you changed to a less expensive supplier or eliminated a redundant department.
c) How did you increase sales or productivity? Perhaps you were able to cut down the onboarding process by 5 steps.
Why is answering these questions so important? Because no one really cares about your ‘responsibilities.’ People are more interested in what you actually achieved.
2. Reframing how you think about writing your resume.
Do you remember the Snuggie? You know, the blanket with sleeves? It was not a groundbreaking idea -- so how did the product do so well?
I noticed a few things in the infomercial that I thought were interesting. You might remember the similar tactics from other infomercials.
They suggest that if you’re not using a Snuggie, you’re cold and uncomfortable; the commercial shows a woman turning up the thermostat while she’s noticeably shivering in her house, and to top it off, the video footage is in black and white!
Then the screen turns to a happy woman in vibrant living color with a big smile on her face, snuggled up on the couch in her new Snuggie while watching TV. (Oh, and she has the cutest puppy on her lap!)
I’ve been told by people who have actually ordered the Snuggie that the product is nothing special -- and not all that warm.
The point is, it’s a very mediocre product. The marketing was outstanding.
With your resume you have an advantage! You are the product, so you know the product is good. This means you owe it to yourself to use any means necessary (without lying or being unethical, of course) to make yourself look great on that piece of paper.
Imagine that you are a new product and you need to describe yourself in the very best light. If you feel like it’s tough to write about yourself in this way, ask someone you know and trust to help guide you or suggest edits.
3. Evoking curiosity beyond your resume.
Resumes, elevator pitches, blurbs on the back of books, and movie trailers all have a purpose. It’s to get people to want more. All these things should showcase the best stuff --but not all of it.
View your resume the same way: you want to entice readers to take the next step and learn more about you. Having a lot of unanswered questions on your resume is not the way to go - but if you craft your writing effectively, you can encourage your readers that you’re a great fit for the job - and that you can elaborate on why during an in-person meeting.
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Natalie Fisher is an enthusiastic HR Generalist who loves her job! She's been on over 50 interviews and received 48 job offers. Download her Free Guide: How To Nail An Interview You’re Unqualified For.