Your Resume: How to get it right?

Job searching is an important part of your career. Especially since it is something that you don’t do (should not do) very often. Here are a few tips I gathered along my way to get right the front cover of this process: The Resume. 


YOUR RESUME IS A SELLING TOOL - Each time that we deliver a resume, essentially we are selling ourselves. We want to communicate that we are the best match for a position. So we should craft the resume with such a mindset right from the beginning. There is a pile of resumes on the desk of the hiring manager. We only have a few seconds to make ours stand out from the crowd. It must be compelling, clean and simple. One misspelling can very easily lead us to the trash. 

PLAN YOUR REAL STATE - Everyone is busy this days. A person leading a hiring process is even busier. This manager simply does not have time to read a novel about us. The most condensed the resume is, the shortest it will be, and the less time it will take to read it. So we want to communicate as much as possible in the shortest possible space. Though it is not written in stone, it is often recommended to keep it 2 pages short. We can use a header on the first page to present our contact information up front. Let's make easy for them to find us if they like what they see. Wasting space by speaking about personal details like marital status, social security number or such is senseless. In some places it is even illegal to ask for such information. Playing with font sizes, styles and positioning to take advantage of the available space is good. We don't need to be afraid to use narrow margins. Planning the sections we  want to include and how we will layout the information is also good. 

MAKE IT MATTER- We want to distinguish ourselves and our career in our resume. So it is perfectly OK to project us in a good light. That’s part of the idea. If we played a lead role in a position, we can describe it that way, and we can be specific. But a lie is the worst idea of them all in a resume. We must be accurate on the accreditations and memberships we have, the universities, degrees and specialties we achieved. We must never include a position that we didn't have. It sounds like common sense, but CEO’s have fallen because of things like these. Seriously. 

We want to include measurable data or facts that can communicate a strong idea about our performance. Distinguished grades or career achievements are never better friends than at this point. It is not the same thing to say that we speak English than to include the average of our TOEFL or TOEIC exam. It is not the same thing to say we are Project Managers than to include our PMP credential. 

For every position think what value we really added for those around us. If we were telling our grandchildren the story of our career, which three things would we say about each position we held? Use bullet points or short descriptions and stick to the point. 

KEEP THE TARGET MARKET IN MIND - For the hiring manager, the goal is to find the candidate which best matches the open position. We can do our part to make this process easier. We should try to apply for an specific position whenever possible. Taking the time to digest the description of the role. This is not just a bunch of human resources jargon. It is a very reasonable description of what they are looking for. We can analyze how our career and experience match that role. 

We can look for skills that we can transfer from our current position to that one. Specific is good, we should look for examples that make our case. If we don’t match some aspects of the position, it is better to recognize it as such; and be ready to describe how we would work around that in a potential interview. Make any pertinent updates to your resume to better show how do you match the open position. 

(Yes, this means that we keep a resume template that we can craft or adapt depending on the position we are applying to…) 

ASK FOR A PEER REVIEW - Asking for feedback or for advice from our peers about our work is always a good practice. It provides us with perspective, it let us catch blind spots the we can’t catch on our own, and it help us to correct the mistakes that we make. It makes our work better and makes us improve. Our resume is not the exception to this rule. Especially since it is a selling tool. Take the time to ask a few trusted colleagues to take a look at it and let you know what they think. 

DON’T BE YOUR OWN WORST ENEMY - This is one of the best pieces of advice I have received from my mentors through the years. It actually comes from a relative which I admire and which I take as an inspiration. He told me something like: You are the candidate for the position. You are not the hiring manager. Do not disqualify yourself by not submitting your resume for a position just because it looks like an stretch assignment. That is not your job. Make sure to submit your resume and let them do their job and make their decisions. 

ALWAYS READY! - We can book specific times through the year so you can update your resume as your experience grows. A very few times a year would be more than enough. It is useful to think about what we have achieved, how we've made a difference in our assignments. If we see that at any point a given experience is not relevant anymore, it is OK remove it. Our career is not frozen in time nor written in stone. Our resume doesn't have to be it either. In this way we’ll have an up to date overview of our work and whenever an unexpected opportunity arises, we don’t have to burn ourselves doing it in a rush overnight. 

HOW ABOUT THE REFERENCES? - Word of mouth is one of the best selling tools ever created. This makes references a very important part of your resume. You want voices that can speak for your resume. Keep them relevant, do not overwhelm a very busy manager with a ton of them. Three or four at most will make it. Make sure these are people which whom you have worked directly. At least one of them should have been your manager. Though a business partner, a trusted colleague, or a professor would make it. An interesting approach is to remove them and only indicate that they will be provided upon request. 

GETTING READY FOR THE NEXT STEPS - A resume is never, ever, ever going to get you a new job. If you have such an expectation, do yourself a favor: remove it right away from your hard drive. Your resume’s job is to get you a Job Interview. Nothing more. Nothing less. In fact your resume is going to be the script that most likely will guide that conversation. So make sure you are absolutely familiar with it. 

Have a nice week!
  - Sergio Calvo.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Your comment is more than appreciated. Feel free to share more!
Su comentario es más que apreciado. Siéntase libre de compartir más!