New Year, New Resume
Last month, I had the pleasure of joining Alchemy Code Lab to discuss modern resume practices with their students. Many of them were either re-entering the workforce after a long hiatus, or switching careers entirely, so it was important to highlight the current practices that'll get them noticed.
Here are some of those #ProfessionalProfileBuilding skills I shared:
If you still have an "Objective" on your resume, it's time to pull the trigger on that delete key. Modern employers obviously assume you want a job at their company, or any job for that matter, if you're applying to one.
Instead, consider showcasing an "About" section that highlights your professional interest, and a "Key Skills" area that outlines your expertise. These should be listed at the top of your resume, and depending on the job, in lieu of your Education. You'll want to keep them short and sweet—at 1-2 sentences or bulleted form—and emphasize only the skills most relevant to the position.
Do your research
The company will expect you to have done some internet stalking. Read their blog posts, sift through hashtags, and peruse their mission statement because guess what? They're definitely doing the same to you.
Their culture, brand, and values will resonate deeply throughout their online presence—and if it doesn't, that should tell you something, too. This information will come in handy later when you sit down to craft your resume: Not only will you have a better idea of what they're looking for, but you'll get a peek into what kind of company you'd be working for.
You'll also realize the aspects to your experience that aren't relevant, and make more room on your resume for the good stuff (read: stuff that'll get you hired). Keep your friends close and, especially, become familiar with who might hire you.
Identify common values
Now that you've done your research, you should be able to interpret how the company talks about themselves and what they do. Does their personality seem cut and dry, or a little quirky? Do they consider themselves progressive, or passionate, or both?
From here, try to match that tone and language. For instance, if they seem focused on progressive thinking, consider re-phrasing your "management" experience as "innovation" and "leadership".
Likewise, if your previous experience seems irrelevant to the job, go back to your Key Skills section and pick out a few that your new employer would find desirable. Then, think about the ways you embodied that skill in your previous work. You can use that verbiage to describe the everyday job duties for that role.
I once had a client applying for a Project Management position, but his experience was in Art Gallery Curating, Customer Service, and Puppeteering (quite an unlikely combo). We successfully identified three qualifications across each job type: time management, communication, and collaboration—all valuable skills for any Project Manager to possess.
Keep it consistent
Attention to detail is a desirable trait in any potential employee, and your professional profile is the first giveaway as to whether or not you have it.
Make sure fonts, spacing, bolding, and colors are cohesive. Most importantly, check for typos, spelling, and grammar. I also suggest that my clients keep the order in which they're presenting information cohesive. For example, you'll almost always want to list your position first, then the employer, then the location and dates worked there. Here's an example:
Job Title ∙ Employer Name ∙ CITY, STATE ∙ Aug. 2011 - Present
In the above example, note that bolding the job title and italicizing the employer's name should be the case for every employer you list. Consider this formatting the "template" when listing out your previous experience. Not only does this demonstrate you put time and effort into your work, but it will also help the employer navigate that information you're presenting.
Customize & personalize
Now that you have the tools for crafting a professional profile, you'll want to rinse and repeat those steps for every job you apply to.
Each resume and cover letter you submit to a potential employer should be unique, and you may not like to hear this, but cookie-cutter resumes are a thing of the past. Companies can see right past a generic resume, and if their recruiters don't, applicant tracking systems will.
Although time-consuming, tailoring a resume and cover letter to the unique needs of each company and position will demonstrate a willingness to succeed along with a familiarity that can help you stand out from hundreds, if not thousands, of applicants. Remember that the time you put into something is directly correlated to what you get out of it—which, in this case, is hopefully a job.
It might seem overwhelming, but I'm here to help! Get in touch for assistance with your professional profile.