Six Things to Consider When Choosing a Professional Resume Writer

Choosing a resume writer to use is very similar to selecting an attorney or accountant. You want to find a true professional who has the right amount of experience and expertise, at a fair price, to lead you though the process. Here are six things to consider when choosing a resume writer:

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1) Do they pass the 10,000 hour rule? In Malcolm Gladwell’s book Outliers, he goes in depth about the idea that it takes about 10,000 hours of deliberate practice to really master a subject area or skill. The idea applies for athletes, actors, musicians, doctors, and yes, resume writers. 10,000 hours comes out to about five years of full-time work or 10 years of part-time work. After 10,000 hours, you can be sure that your writer has seen just about every client scenario possible and developed a clear understanding of what works and what doesn’t.

Keep in mind that a tremendous amount of experience doesn’t always translate to exceptional work. Trends in the job search and resume writing realms change often, so it’s critical to find a writer who isn’t stuck in their ways and can adapt to the constant technological and social changes.

2) Are they well-versed in your industry and function? Today, we live in a world of specialists. The jack-of-all-trades is finding it more and more difficult to survive. When paying good money to have somebody prepare your resume, you want to work with somebody who specializes in your line of work. Writing a resume for a lawyer is very different than writing a resume for a programmer. There are countless nuances specific to each profession, and there’s not a writer alive today who is well versed in all of them. If you’re in sales, find a writer who knows sales. If you’re a non-profit executive, find a writer who understands the non-profit arena. At The Executive Element, we often turn away clients outside our areas of expertise because we know that are other writers out there that better understand their background and will ultimately provide a better service.

3) Do they have a strong online presence? A website is no longer an optional marketing tool, it is a requirement. Any professional resume writer who doesn’t have a basic website that lists their credentials and services isn’t really a ‘professional’ resume writer. For those writers that do have a website, is it modern and well-written? I’d be hesitant to hire a writer who claims to be an expert in ‘personal branding’ if their brand is being communicated through a website created in 1997. Additionally, you should be able to check out your writer on LinkedIn, and hopefully, view recommendations from satisfied clients.

4) What is their process? How does the writer go about collecting enough sufficient information to write a quality resume? Do they use worksheets or schedule a phone consultation? Most good writers will usually do both. While worksheets can be a bit cumbersome for the client, they are the easiest way to collect sufficient basic information such as job titles and dates, basic job responsibilities, education, associations, etc. The worksheet should also ask the client to try to list quantitative achievements whenever possible.

While the worksheet is a great starting point, a phone consultation can help tie all the information together and provide an opportunity to communicate information that may not fit into the worksheet format. If you’re spending hundreds of dollars on a new resume, you have every right to speak to your writer and discuss the project as you see fit. I would be very leery of any service that doesn’t make every effort to collect as much information as possible before starting the project.

5) Have you seen samples of their work? Some writers are hesitant to post samples on their website because they think potential clients will just copy their samples and never purchase their services. We’ve found that this rarely happens. When viewing a writer’s samples, think like a hiring manager. Does the sample resume have a contemporary format? Are the most important pieces of information easy to find? Can you get a clear understanding of the client’s core skill set and value he or she can bring to an organization? Are cliches overused? If you’re impressed with the samples, chances are good that you’ll be pleased with their service. If the samples are underwhelming, move on and find somebody else.

6) How much does it cost? There is a tremendous range of fees that writers charge for a resume and cover letter. You’ll find people offering resume writing services on Craigslist for $29. You’ll also find established writers that charge $1500+. Both are fairly ridiculous. Somebody charging anything less than $100 would have to do several projects per day to make a decent living; meaning, volume is their priority, not quality. On the other end of the spectrum, there are more experienced writers (often published) who charge a fortune simply because they can. They have the credentials to demand top dollar and they tend to be very selective with the clients they choose to work with. There are plenty of high quality firms that charge somewhere between $300 and $700 for a resume package, which is a fair price to pay for the average management- to executive-level client.

Clearly, there are lots of things to consider when choosing a resume writer, but ultimately, it comes down to selecting somebody that you’re comfortable with. A referral from somebody that had a great experience is obviously a good way to go, but in the absence of a referral, do your homework and ask lots of questions.


Appropriate Email Address for a Resume

It’s 2012 and I’m still amazed at how many people still don’t understand the importance of having an email address that is suitable for the job search. Below are some samples (slightly altered) of email addresses that I have seen on resumes lately:

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puppyluvr5@yahoo.com – Not only is this one a little creepy, it also screams “Please don’t take me seriously!” Sure, most everybody loves puppies, but making this the online moniker that every potential employer will see is not a wise idea. Use your name – only your name – in your email address! If your name is John Smith, chances are that jsmith@gmail.com is probably not available, but do your best to keep your name the central part of the address. Add a number, a middle initial, or some other simple alteration as needed.

daveandsandy@hotmail.com – So you really share your email account with your husband or wife? I can understand a married couple having a shared email just for use with their kids and grandkids, but not for a job search. Two people on one email account is a bad idea for many reasons, but it may be telling potential employers that you’re not savvy enough to handle an email account on your own, or even worse, that you can’t be trusted by your own spouse!

gregjones@netzero.com – Netzero was a free online email service that came out in the mid 1990s, which was when it signed up the vast majority of its users. They were actually one of the first services to offer free dial-up Internet, which shows you have ancient this company is in the online world. Most people have replaced their Netzero email addresses with a Yahoo, Hotmail, or Gmail account as time went on. Those that are still using a Netzero account (or one of its brethren – Juno, AOL, etc.) may be signaling that they’re a bit behind the curve. See this article of an extreme take on this concept.

The bottom line – your email address is an extension of you, and you need to be aware of how it effects your personal brand. Recruiters and hiring managers are paid to be judgmental (in a completely legal way, of course), so don’t let something silly like a ridiculously outdated or inappropriate email address overshadow what could otherwise be an exceptional resume or cover letter.

One Sneaky Trick for Writing a Job Description

I’ll let you in on a little secret: You don’t have to be a world-class writer to put together a great resume. While most professional resume writers are above average writers, the best-of-the-best possess two key elements – 1) They understand how a resume should be structured given each client’s unique background and skill set, and 2) They are resourceful and able to find important information that makes the writing process much, much easier.

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As we discussed in the third installment of How to Write an Awesome Executive Resume, writing a job description for each position is critical as recruiters and hiring managers need to be able to understand what the job entailed, what your primary responsibilities were, and how your role fit into the organization as a whole.

When most people think about how they can summarize what their role entails into a few sentences, they draw a blank. Or conversely, they make a list of 20 different things that fall under the job description and end up with too much information that overwhelms the reader.

So what’s the trick to writing a great job description? The trick is that chances are somebody else has already written one for you. You just need to find it and tweak it to make it your own. For example, if you’re an VP of Human Resources for a mid-sized company, you should be able to go to one of the aggregate job search engines (I recommend Indeed.com) and search for “VP of Human Resources”. Dozens of postings should come up and you just need to find the one that most closely matches what you do.

Find the top two or three sentences that describe the role at a high level and include a final sentence of your own that details very specific information such as the number of direct reports beneath you, budget responsibilities, etc.

Don’t make writing a job description harder than it needs to be. Leverage the power of the Internet and find one that somebody else spent a lot of time and effort to write. Don’t plagiarize! Make each sentence your own, but feel free to use the basic framework that you see online.

Why Most Resumes Kind of Suck…And What to Do about It.

Every single day, people from all over the country send me their resume because they’d either like me to review it and confirm that they’re on the right track or they’ve realized that they need the help of a professional to get it up to snuff. Either way, the resumes are usually not very good – to put it nicely.

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After nearly nine years of writing resumes for a living, I think I’ve finally realized why most people’s resumes are so uninspiring. It’s not because these folks aren’t very smart or they haven’t had a great deal of success in their career…because they are and they have. It’s because most people approach their resume as a task and something that has to be done. A necessary evil, if you will.

The average resume that I review typically has one (or more) of the following issues:

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  • The format is outdated because they’ve kept adding on to an old resume
  • The resume has few achievements that prove their value in each role
  • The summary, if there is one, is vague and not targeted appropriately
  • It’s structured in a way that is too dense and very difficult to skim
  • It includes all sorts of tactical and extraneous information

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People don’t purposely set out to write a crappy resume. They just don’t give it the attention it needs to stand out and tell their story in a unique and compelling way.

Change your approach

The first thing you’ll want to do if you’re serious about having a resume that doesn’t suck is change your mindset. Your resume isn’t just a document that you send companies that have a job you want to apply for. Your resume is an extension of you, and oftentimes, the first impression that hiring managers or recruiters will have of you. Why on Earth wouldn’t you want it to be a personal marketing tool that effectively encapsulates who you are, what you’ve done, and what specific value you can bring to an organization?

Think back to your first date in high school or college. I know for some of you that was a long time ago, but I’m sure you remember the preparation that went into making sure that you were putting your best foot forward. For the ladies, you probably spent twice the amount of time getting your hair and make-up just right. And guys, you probably wanted to be sure you were wearing the perfect shirt and the right cologne. You did this because you knew that you only had one chance to make the perfect first impression, and that the chance of a second date hinged on the success of the first date.

Take it on yourself

If you’re a motivated job seeker and plan on tackling your resume yourself, you’ll need to 1) educate yourself on contemporary resume writing trends, and 2) carve out the necessary time it will take to create a resume that works. A failure to not do either of those things will essentially guarantee that you’ll end up with a resume that isn’t effective as it could be.

For the do-it-yourself resume writer, there is no shortage of excellent resources out there to point you in the right direction. I’d start with Resume Mastermind’s How to Write an Awesome Executive Resume series. Susan Britton Whitcomb wrote a book a while back that continues to be the industry standard for basic resume writing instruction.

Get a little professional help

The second option, of course, is to work with a professional resume writer. While there will be a more substantial financial investment, it makes sense for a lot of people to outsource the project. Even if you do hire a resume writer, you still need to provide information and feedback throughout the process to ensure the best possible outcome.

Whether you choose to take it on yourself or hire a professional, make it a priority to do it right.

The Surprising Secret to Selling Yourself

There was a recent article in the Harvard Business Review by Heidi Grant Halvorson, Ph.D that contests the conventional wisdom that a person’s track record of success (or a company’s, for that matter) is the single most important factor in determining whether or not they get hired. Many of us tend to think that we need to put most of our focus on proving our value in previous roles, when in fact, people tend to be much more interested in what we CAN do rather than what we have ALREADY accomplished.

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From the artice:

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… when we are deciding who to hire, promote, or do business with, it turns out that we don’t like the Big Thing nearly as much as we like the Next Big Thing. We have a bias — one that operates below our conscious awareness — leading us to prefer the potential for greatness over someone who has already achieved it.
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A set of ingenious studies conducted by Stanford’s Zakary Tormala and Jayson Jia, and Harvard Business School’s Michael Norton paint a very clear picture of our unconscious preference for potential over actual success.
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For candidates in the midst of a job search, this should be a wake-up call that the approach you (and almost everybody else) have been taking, may not be working that well.

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… they found the same pattern when they looked at evaluations of job candidates. In this case, they compared perceptions of someone with two years of relevant experience who scored highly on a test of leadership achievement, versus someone with no relevant experience who scored highly on a test of leadership potential. (Both candidates had equally impressive backgrounds in every other way). Evaluators believed the candidate with leadership potential would be more successful at the new company than the candidate with a proven record of leadership ability. (Incidentally, if you ask the evaluators to tell you whose resume is more impressive, they agree that it’s the one with experience. They still prefer the other guy anyway.)
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So is it still important to highlight major accomplishments and career achievements on your resume? Of course! However, this research re-emphasizes what we preach to clients every day – in order for the resume to do its job, you need to demonstrate the specific value you can bring to an organization and prove that there is still upside and room for growth that can be cultivated in the right environment.

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All this suggests that you need a very different approach to selling yourself than the one you intuitively take, because your intuitions are probably wrong. People are much more impressed, whether they realize it or not, by your potential than by your track record. It would be wise to start focusing your pitch on your future, as an individual or as a company, rather than on your past — even if that past is very impressive indeed. It’s what you could be that makes people sit up and take notice — learn to use the power of potential to your advantage.
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Dr. Halvorson hit the nail on the head.

How to Write an Awesome Executive Resume – Part Three

In our previous post in the How to Write an Awesome Executive Resume series, we went into great detail about the importance of crafting a strong Executive Summary. That section sets the tone for the entire resume, and if done correctly, should entice the readers to want to explore the executive resume further. So you want to be sure to maintain the momentum from the Executive Summary and create a Professional Experience section that showcases your career progression, highlights your major contributions, and supports the branding statement in the opening summary.

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In the Professional Experience section, I like to break each position into two parts:

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  • A clear scope of the position
  • Major contributions and quantifiable achievements

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Separating the job description from the accomplishments is critical as recruiters and hiring managers need to be able to differentiate 1) what the job entailed and 2) what you were really able to achieve in the role.

Scope of the position

Quite simply, this should tell the reader what you were hired to do. In a three to four sentence paragraph, you need to clarify what your primary responsibilities were and how your role fit into the organization as a whole. For example, if you were a Human Resources Director, you would want to describe what functional areas your managed, the top strategic goals you were working to achieve, the number of direct and indirect reports beneath you, budget responsibilities, etc. Avoid getting into too much detail or focusing on the more tactical aspects of the role.

Sometimes it helps to imagine that you’re explaining what you do to 10-year old. Describe your role in simple, easy to understand terms that anybody can understand. This helps to avoid including too much “industry speak” and extraneous details of the role that many not be necessary.

Quantify your achievements

This is easier to do in some positions (sales and operations) than others (strategic planning and organizational development), but anybody in any kind of role should be able to describe the impact they had. For a sales executive, recruiters would want to see proof of your success such as beating your quota by x percent, growing year-over-year sales by x percent, securing major client accounts, etc. For an organizational development executive, hiring managers would want to see specific initiatives that you development and rolled out and what the impact of those programs were. Did they increase retention? Improve company morale?

The real gold nuggets within a resume are the bits of information that demonstrate the true value you brought to a role and how it impacted the company. If you can’t show that you can perform and consistently exceed expectations in your previous roles, why would a prospective employer have any incentive to bring you into their company. The job-seekers that consistently win interviews are those who can prove (hopefully with verifiable numbers) that they have been an asset to previous employers.

Example of a well-crafted position

Notice how easy it is to understand what this person was hired to do. And if somebody was quickly scanning through the document, the bulleted achievements stand out on the page and are easy to find.

Other quick tips

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  • 99% of job seekers should use the reverse chronological format
  • Only use the functional forrmat if you have zero relevant experience
  • Consider describing the firm in a short if this will impress the reader
  • Avoid including months in the dates, unless you had the job for
  • Use the heading “Professional Experience” rather than “Experience” or “Work History”

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I think the Professional Experience section of the resume is a bit easier to write than the Executive Summary because it’s more objective. Keep in mind the suggestions I’ve provided and you shouldn’t have any problems creating a summary of your experience that succinctly explains your career history and the specific value you provided in each role.

The Rise of the Creative Resume

Over the last several years, there has been a massive increase in the use of artistic and creative resume designs. Graphic designers have actually opened up an entirely new niche by providing job seekers with unique designs that are meant to help them stand out from the traditional black and white text resume.

Picture courtesy of Loft Resumes

The question many people have about this new phenomenon is “do they really work?” The answer is a bit convoluted and it really depends on who you ask, but my official answer is yes…and no.

The Pros

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  • They look really, really cool and definitely stand out in a pile of resumes.
  • For a designer, it is a useful example of your creativity.
  • It gives the impression that you’re taking the job search seriously.
  • It enables you to more easily cover up any perceived deficiencies.
  • You can draw the reader’s attention to very specific parts of the resume.

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Because creative resumes are still a relatively new trend, designers who submit them now are able to capitalize on the initial “wow” factor that they have. In certain niches of the creative world, this type of resume may become the standard rather than the exception, so first-adopters may have the advantage. Unfortunately, these resumes do have their fair share of detractors.

The Cons

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  • The design may keep them from passing applicant tracking systems.
  • Many HR managers feel they are over-designed and lack substance.
  • From a scannability perspective, they can be very difficult to read.
  • Editing or creating alternate versions could be a nightmare.
  • It loses effectiveness if everybody starts doing the same thing.
  • You lose valuable space to detail experience and accomplishments.

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Anybody in human resources will tell you that they don’t expect to see a seismic shift in the way resumes are written any time soon. In order for a hiring manager or recruiter to adequately assess a candidate’s qualifications, they need to see a clear, easy-to-read summary of where the job seeker has worked and what they’ve been able to accomplish. Because applicant tracking systems are set up to scan text files, Word docs, and PDF’s, the creative resume will be limited to a small sub-set of the workforce and will work most effectively as a complement to a traditional resume.

Five Insanely Cool Creative Resumes

Vicky Frenkel – The Resume Shop

The French Press Loft Resumes

deviantART

Orange Resume

Steve Pratt

How to Write an Awesome Executive Resume – Part Two

This is the second installment of the How to Write an Awesome Executive Resume series and the focus will be on crafting a strong Executive Summary – also known as the Profile or the Summary of Qualifications.

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You need to make it count

Gone are the days of the Objective Statement that reads “Results-oriented professional seeking a middle-management position for a growing company.” That sentence told the reader absolutely nothing about you, what you have to offer, or why you may be a fit for their organization. It’s also entirely self-serving by saying what it is you want, not what you can do for them. The trend now is to open an executive resume with a strong statement that shows how you can help solve an organization’s specific challenges – whether that’s growing sales in a certain market, streamlining operations, implementing a new onboarding process, etc. The more specific you can be, the more

If you think about your executive resume as a piece of marketing collateral, it makes sense to hit the reader with something concise, interesting, and impactful at the very beginning to grab their attention and entice them to want to read further. That is the primary purpose of the Executive Summary. In a matter of a few sentences, you should be able to tell the reader: who you are; where your unique skills and background lies, and how you can leverage that to add immediate value to their organization. Simple, right?

What does a good Executive Summary look like?

Let’s start with nn example of an ineffective Executive Summary:

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Over twenty years of experience in the behavioral health care field with a record of success in providing excellent health care in a professional, cost effective method. Expertise in business development, program development, account management, strategic sales, operations and regulatory compliance. Proven ability to analyze and re-align organizations to increase efficiencies. Excellent leadership and strategic skills, fully committed to delivering results.
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At first blush, it seems okay. But if you take a closer look, the statement comes off as a bit vague. By listing her expertise in multiple functional areas (business development, program development, operations, etc.) she isn’t telling employers exactly how she can fit into the organization. Nor does she provide detail into specific value she can deliver – increasing sales, profitability, etc.

The following is the same person with a more impactful summary:

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Health care executive with 20+ years of experience creating and delivering solutions for clients, leveraging extensive background leading strategy and business development for major health plans. Proven ability to set the direction for clinical, operations, and program management teams to drive efforts that maximize revenue, improve the customer experience, and enhance the value of the brand. Cultivated a record of success delivering innovative health care programs, managing high-level client relationships, and driving corporate change for large, diverse organizations.
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The second version does a much better job of detailing the core strengths and skill sets most relevant to her role, past relevant experience with key functions, and notable accomplishments that she intends to repeat in the next role.

Five tips to build a great summary

These tips are from fellow Kansas City resume writer, Jacqui Barrett-Poindexter:

1. Create a marketing strategy. Think about the last story you read in a magazine or online. What enticed you to read it? Most likely, it was the use of bold lettering that mentioned a snippet of what the story was about. Use this same method to get your audience on board.

2. Focus on marquee achievements. Zero in on a few of your most outstanding accomplishments that relate to the job for which you’re applying. Then, build your executive summary around these accomplishments.

3. Introduce statements with strong verbs. Avoid using boring language like, “Responsible for,” “Duties included,” and other fillers that have no place on any executive resume.

4. Tailor your words for your audience. Be powerful and set the scene for your targeted position to ensure a potential employer fully understands your value.

5. Chart your story. If your career story allows it, the use of a chart or graph in this area is an excellent way to relay important data in a format that’s quick and interesting to read.

The Executive Summary truly is the linchpin to a great executive resume. If you fail to grab the reader’s attention at the beginning of the resume, chances are they aren’t going to continue reading. Take the time to craft a summary that reflects your unique skills and experience and showcases the specific value you can deliver.

 

 

 

 

 

5 Easy Ways to Make Your IT Resume More Effective

As a professional resume writer who has reviewed thousands of resumes over the years, I see many of the same mistakes over and over again. There is some flexibility about how a resume can be written and structured, but hiring managers are always looking for certain things that indicate whether or not you’ll be a good fit for their organization.  The resume is perhaps the step that you have the most control over in your job search, so it pays to make sure that it is doing the one thing it’s suppose to do – get you interviews. Below is a list of five simple things that you can do that will have a dramatic effect on your resume.

it-resume-writing-tips

1) Don’t forget to emphasize your soft skills

Most IT professionals make the mistake of thinking that their hard technical skills are going to be the main thing that recruiters and hiring managers are looking for. While mastery of a specific language, platform, or applications is certainly important, it usually doesn’t end up being the primary differentiator amongst candidates. What makes a candidate stand out to those making the hiring decisions is their ability to add value to a project team, consistently come up with solutions that can save time and/or money, and make a positive contribution to the company culture.

2) Make your resume ATS-friendly

Complex search techniques are used by corporations, recruiting agencies, and job boards when your resume is uploaded in to their Applicant Tracking System (ATS).  So cater to this with succinct and searchable job titles that will help your resume appear when recruiters run a Boolean search in their ATS database. A good way to determine keywords is to read job descriptions for positions that interest you. If you see industry buzzwords, incorporate them into your resume.

Additionally, list your specific IT certifications accurately and clearly to communicate what expertise it has given you, including technology focus, specific skills and unique abilities. Consider writing a “Technology Environment” bullet point at the end of your experience.  This is a great way to incorporate technical skills into your job detail even if you did not use the technology directly.

3) Get specific

If you are applying for an opening that has very specific technical requirements, they will expect you to have a strong understanding of those applications. So rather than simply state that you used C++ to create applications—be specific about how you put it to work and what the results were.

Consider breaking each position into two part: the day-to-day job responsibilities and major accomplishments. The job description should paint a short, but clear, picture of what you were hired to do and should have technical detail that, critically, shows the technology’s impact on business. Both the hiring manager and the CIO want workers who understand technology’s role in the business. Use bullet points for 3-5 accomplishments in each role, quantifying their impact as much as possible.

4) Create multiple versions

If you are in more than one role (or have skills that may fit more than one role) you should have multiple versions of your resume available that highlight those skills. For example, if you have years of experience as a software engineer, and also have project management expertise, have two resumes: one highlighting your software engineer experience and another highlighting your project management experience. Typically, the only major changes you would have to make would be in the opening profile or summary of qualifications section as your experience would remain the same.

5) Make it readable

Tech resumes often become these dense unreadable documents that are incredibly difficult to skim through. Utilize section headers and white space to separate the different areas of the resume. Vary the design a bit, writing job descriptions in paragraph form and using bullets for accomplishments. Use bold and italics to make some of the more impressive bits of information stand out. And finally, proofread the resume multiple times before sending it out, ensuring that there are no grammar mistakes and that everything makes sense.

Keeping these five things in mind will help you stay on the right track and give hiring managers a much clearer picture of the value you can bring to their organization.

 

How to Write an Awesome Executive Resume – Part One

Part one of Resume Mastermind’s How to Write a Resume Series

Here at Resume Mastermind, we want to be the #1 authority on resume writing. Although we’re in the business of writing resumes for our clients, we also like to think of ourselves as coaches as we spend a lot of time educating people on what it takes to create a resume that opens doors to bigger and better opportunities. This is Part One of a six-part series on how to write a resume that is targeted, well-designed, and powerful to consistently win interviews.

starting-line-for-writing-a-resume

There is no one way to write a resume, and no two resumes look exactly alike (or they shouldn’t, anyway). But we firmly believe that there are basic principles that can be applied across the board, so we want to share with you our philosophy and general methodologies.

 

Before You Start Writing

One of the biggest mistakes that many people when writing their own resume is that they begin writing before they have a well-prepared plan in place. This usually results in the resume lacking a clear focus or direction and makes the writing process much more cumbersome than it needs to be. Before you even start writing, here is a list of things to consider that will make the process much smoother.

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    • Who is the audience? The first thing you want to ask yourself is “Who is the person that’s going to be reading this thing?” Is it a hiring manager? A recruiter? A colleague? Throughout the writing process, you should put yourself into the mindset of what somebody else will see when looking at your resume.

 

    • What will the target audience be looking for? A great resume will bridge the gap between what you have done and what you are seeking to do in your next role. The hiring manager will want to see that you have the capacity to jump into the new opening and add immediate value, so your content strategy should be tailored accordingly.

 

    • How will the resume be structured? Writing a resume is much easier when you have a fundamental understanding of what the finished product will look like. Consider how long the resume should be and what main sections will be included. Creating a basic template that you can fill in along the way will save you a lot of time and agony.

 

    • What will make the resume stand out? If you start writing your resume with the idea of creating something that is “good enough”, you’re setting yourself up to fail. Each job opening solicits hundreds, if not thousands, of resume submissions, so you need to think about what you can do to make your resume set you apart from the pack.

 

  • Is this really something you should be doing yourself? Do you really have the time, writing capacity, and understanding of the current job market to give your resume the necessary effort it deserves? For example, I recently wrote a resume for a gentleman who charges $150 an hour to his consulting clients. He spent the better part of two full days working on his resume and would have saved himself hundreds in lost revenue had he hired a company that specializes in writing resumes for clients in his industry. Every day, we hire accountants to do our taxes and auto technicians to change our oil because it’s not worth the headaches to do those things ourselves. Hiring a professional resume review service such as Resume Mastermind may make a lot of sense.

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Right now, you may not have the answers to all of those questions, and that’s okay. In the next parts of the How to Write a Resume series, we’ll shed light on how, specifically, you can answer these questions and put a pre-game plan in place. The major takeaway should be that there are things that need to be carefully considered before diving into the writing part of the project.

 

The Primary Purpose of the Resume

The resume is meant to do one thing – get you an interview. It doesn’t need to be a comprehensive summary of your life story or a factual chronological history of your work experience. The resume should convince the reader that you have the background, skills, and intangibles to be successful in this new position or career.

 

Where to Go from Here

I recommend taking a day or two to think about what it is you really want to do with your career. Narrow it down as specific as possible. For example, saying that you “want to work in the tech industry” isn’t going to cut it. However, deciding that you “want to leverage your software development experience and passion for mobile technology into a position with a start-up mobile app company” gives you a much clearer direction for your project.

Stay on the look-out for Part Two of our How to Write a Resume Series where we go in-depth about crafting an opening profile or summary of qualifications.