Wednesday, November 30, 2016

Reinventing Your Resume

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Even if you're not actively looking for a new job, it's not a bad idea to keep your resume up to date. I recently met with an executive coach to review my own resume because it was feeling a bit outdated and needed some revamping. The result surprised me. Here are three tips that I took away:
  1. Hit the highlights. Be specific and succinct about your experiences, highlighting key accomplishments without going overboard. My bulleted description of each experience was concise, but I wasn't sure how to account for promotions or the project-based work that is the bread and butter of consulting. My coach gave me this example: if you've been promoted in your tenure at your current company, you can have a bullet that reads "Led a 20-person team to develop and execute an training strategy that reduced spending by 50%; This resulted in a promotion to manager." I thought this was a good way to demonstrate high performance without going overboard and listing every single individual position on the page. 
  2. Sell your skills in the summary. Overall, my resume was in pretty good shape and required minor tweaking. But the part that my coach spent the most time on was the brief summary/profile. She told me that this brief summary should really read like a mini cover letter. Rather than tell the reader what you've accomplished, this summary should talk about how you accomplished it. Are you great at building relationships? Do you have an eye for detail that allows you to catch what others don't? A good place to start is by drafting a full cover letter, then using it to summarize yourself in 2-3 sentences. 
  3. Know what you want. My biggest takeaway from my session was that it's hard to apply for jobs or create the perfect resume if you don't have an "end game" in mind. What do you want to be doing in 10 years from now? What are the experiences (linear or not) that will help you get there? Once you have a plan, it's easier to concisely summarize the skills and experiences that will be relevant to the roles you want to obtain.  This might seem like common sense, but I know I still need to do a bit of soul searching to determine what I really want to be when I grow up!
Image from Pinterest
If you're revamping your own resume, check out Etsy for some cool formatting options. You want the overall look to be professional, but you can be a little bit creative with the layout. Maybe it will catch someone's eye and land you the job!

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