So, since we talked about LinkedIn, you know what you need to do to get your profile up and make it beefy. I’m glad to hear that so many of you have taken steps in that direction – as Mr. Burns might say, “Exxxx-cellent.” Go ahead and keep tinkering, and realize that every time you make a change on your profile your LinkedIn contacts will get a notice. Use your updates strategically so people want to click over to see more, and let them put two and two together to realize you’re the perfect candidate for the job that just opened.
Although LinkedIn often serves as a resume proxy, as we discussed, you still need a resume. [collective groans]
For so many of us, the prospect of writing a resume feels an awful lot like… completing a tax return. And just about as much fun.
Back in the old days – you know, when you carried around a hieroglyphic stone tablet to job interviews – a resume was a very formal affair. Resumes were typeset, on ivory or white vellum, and had to be broad enough to attract different employers because most job seekers could only afford to have one version typeset. In those days, the world moved a bit slower, and hiring organizations often took their time with the process.
Today, the hiring process couldn’t look more different.
Speed is often a key consideration, as in “how fast can we get someone in here?” Agility is important, and thanks to home computers and good printers, it’s easy to customize a resume to a specific job posting.
But most of all, today’s resume is mostly a sales document, rather than an encyclopedic listing of everywhere you’ve ever been, everything you’ve ever thought or done. [unless you're looking for a job in academe or the government - in those spots, you still need to keep it formal.]
A good resume, today, gets you in the door and into the interview. It’s simply a marketing piece.
A recruiter recently told me that there are sometimes more than 400 applicants for a particular opening in his shop – so your resume needs to quickly tell the story about why you are the perfect person to hire.
Now, notice something. There’s my address, phone and email address. My email is very professional – not “firstname.lastname@example.org”. [Believe me, it matters.] You might be surprised by the number of people who forget to put contact info on a resume. Result? Automatic round file. So make it easy, clear and right at the top. OK, see that line? Above the line I define who I am, and then add my tag line underneath. This serves to set the tone for anyone who’s just scanning quickly. Then my resume moves into a summary section – I’m leaving the tag line so you can see how things are placed:
In this section, I’ve chosen to highlight the key things I do in my work – Coaching, Strategic Planning, Writing – and added Ethics because it’s reassuring. You’ll see a short client testimonial there, too, which serves like a LinkedIn recommendation – it’s a third party endorsement which provides some context for me and my work. You’ll also note that I peppered this area with keywords folks are likely to use to search out an executive or career coach. That way, if my resume gets dumped into a computer scan, the keywords will still pop my resume up in the search results.
Now, the average recruiter eyeballs a resume for three or four seconds. That’s all. So, it’s quite reasonable to think that someone could scan my resume just to this point – and what would they do if they only knew this much about me? They’d know enough to put me in the “yes” pile. How do I know this would happen? Because it already has.
But some people will be intrigued enough (and have enough time) to keep on reading. Those folks will take a look at “Selected Professional Experience” – this is also strategic. That I worked at Roy Rogers Restaurant as a senior in high school adds nothing to the narrative I’m creating in the resume – the narrative that I am an outstanding, experienced coach – so Roy Rogers is off, and all the relevant stuff is in:
Subsequent experiences, like the Ronald Reagan Centennial Commission, my consulting practice, my work at a top lobbying firm and at The White House, as well as key Presidential campaign are highlighted. The descriptions are short, and specifically reinforce the idea that I have played with the big boys and know how to work under pressure.
My resume ends up with my education and certifications and two key volunteer activities that also go to my ability to get stuff done:
Notice, I ended the page with a footer – phone number and email address – to make it easy for people to get in contact.
Because that’s really what I want for the reader to do – to contact me. To read this resume and say, “Wow – she’ll be perfect. Let’s bring her in.”
And that’s all your resume needs to do, too. It needs to wow ‘em, and get you in the door.
What you do then…in the interview? Will be covered next week.