Millions of people have quit their jobs in the past year, and I think at least half of them have asked me to look at their resumes. Whether the great resignation has made you reconsider your career or opened up an opportunity for you to advance, I asked FATFREE if I could share a few free tips (as a writer, marketer, and person who has seen a LOT of resumes lately) before you start redlining your old resume.
Throw it out. Your old resume has nothing to do with you anymore.
- Throw it out. Your old resume has nothing to do with you anymore. The format looks like it was done on a typewriter in 1997. Your address—arguably the least important information on there—is taking up prime real estate. And nobody cares what year you graduated (unless it was so long ago that it could work against you). Start from scratch with what you’re doing now and work backward. You do have permission to use the old document to jog your memory.
- Change your perspective. Completely. Give yourself a giant pep talk. You’re not begging someone to deign to hire you. You’re a skilled professional selling your services to a company that will be lucky to get you. Tell them why—with confidence—they need to snap you up before someone else does.
- Act like an executive. Does the president of your company’s resume include her early days at Pizza Hut? Note that she’s proficient in XL? Refer to herself as a “team player.” Nope. Nope. Nope. If you’re looking for a senior-level gig, you don’t have to fill every gap back to college. It’s time to cut out all the task-based, tactical bullet points and stick to the ways you’ve helped your team or company win.
- Include some of you. The passive, third-person voice is no longer the rule. Let people see your personality. It’s okay to use the word “I” to describe your journey (as long as it’s brief, fact-based and relevant). Notes about hobbies and outside interests can make you sound like an actual human—especially if you can tie them back to the type of work you do.
- Tell a story. Weave a narrative about what you accomplished—not what you did every day. And make it real with words that humans might use in actual conversation. Try to avoid common resume and business-y words, especially “passion,” unless it’s really a passion and you’d be willing to say so out loud. You may not have numbers to quantify everything you do, but what have you learned and what’s better since you’ve arrived?
- Make each one relevant. You’re not getting these resumes printed. Digital delivery means you can—and therefore should—tailor every resume you send. At the very least, create a few broad categories, so you don’t send one generic message to the world.
- Look at it without reading. What does the page say at a glance?
- A dense forest of text may suggest you can’t tell what’s important and what’s not—or get you right into the too-hard pile. (Remember, they’re reading 1,000 of these.)
- If your most recent job appears dwarfed by long copy about long-ago gigs, it may seem as if you’re not growing professionally.
- Dated design says you’re not plugged in. Instead, edit aggressively, make sure you include less and less detail as you go back in time (deleting early, irrelevant employment) and go to Canva.com or download a template to clean up your look.
- Make sure certifications and necessary skills can be found by scanning, rather than buried in text, or you may not make the first cut.
Oh, and about that home address. Turf it. Make sure your email and phone are at the bottom, where a marketer would put a call to action, so they’re available when an employer is ready to bring you in for a chat.
And, when you land that new gig, give FATFREE a ring to help you look great in your new role.