As a Career Coach, I read and review resumes with clients on a weekly basis. I want to share some tips that I tend to use with my clients in hopes it can help you as you review and revise your own resume.
Don’t Put Everything on There
Your resume should not have every work experience you’ve ever had listed on it along with every single thing you’ve ever done or responsibility you’ve ever had. For each resume you send out, you’ll want to highlight only the accomplishments and skills that are most relevant to the job you are applying for.
Resumes are not meant to be anthologies, they are meant to be summaries. As such, keep it to a page (max 2) with exceptions for academia and if you are a seasoned senior executive.
Keep it Recent and Relevant
You should focus your resume to show the last 10-15 years of your career history. Also, keep it to experience relevant to the positions to which you are applying. And remember to allocate space based on importance and impact. If you have to decide between two bullets, choose the one that had a greater end result or impact
Select your bullets carefully
No matter how long you’ve been in a job, or how much you’ve accomplished there, you shouldn’t have more than five or six bullets in a given section. I usually try to stick with 3-4.
Focus on Impact and Output
It’s not so much what you did, but rather, the impact, significance or output of what you did. It’s great that you created marketing assets, or managed a social media campaign, but what was the impact or the result of that?
It’s best when you can quantify it (ex: a 25% increase, 30 new customers, $100,000 in additional revenue) but not everything can be quantified nicely in those numbers. As such, qualitative can do if you can’t pin down a number (ex: designed marketing materials that were used in business development proposals) *As a note, when I read and edit resumes, this is the one thing I will drill hard on for my clients, as it’s the one that often is the most challenging.
Show Some Personality
Feel free to include an “Interests” section on your resume – it’s a great way to show off your personality and help you stand out amongst the crowd. I usually put this at the bottom of my resume
Finally, I truly believe there is not one right way to write a resume, but rather, many right ways to write a resume. At some point, (usually after the 20th or 21st revision) you are probably going to run into the law of diminishing returns with your edits. Additionally, if you ask 5 different people for feedback there’s a high likelihood you’re going to get five different potential results. At some point, you need to decide what makes sense for you and what is most consistent with what you want to put forward and show off to a recruiter.