4 Expert Tips On Building A Winning, Technicolor Resume

Terri Davis magazine

After seeing, reviewing and interpreting thousands of resumes for my clients over 20 years of executive headhunting, I have a single piece of advice for you looking for work or a new career: It’s up to you to tell your own story in living colour, bringing it to life for a recruiter and potential employer. Otherwise you will end up on the rejection pile.

Your resume is your career story. It’s not just an abbreviation of the facts of your job history with dates. Many resumes I review assume that the reader knows you as well as you know you. Resumes also assume a recruiter or potential employer understands your past job history, your titles and roles, and your significant contribution to an organization. Sadly, many resume writers do not take the time to make their resume their unique calling card, presented in a way that engages and compels. Bulleted lists, job titles with dates, none of this is enough to get you the engagement you’re looking for from potential employers. Here are 4 quick tips to help you craft a vivid resume of truths and facts well told.

4 Tips To A Technicolor Resume And Better Results:

  1. You have dreams and goals, so why begin a resume with the flat “I’m looking for a position with a company where my skills can be best put to use”. Wow, that is generic and makes me yawn every time I see that at the beginning of a resume. If your first few words are so dull, why would I keep reading about you? You’re not a dreary person so why speak about yourself in dreary ways? Why not begin by showing your unique abilities and passions in a way that doesn’t sound generic?
  2. Don’t make everything about yourself. A potential employer wants to know what you’ve done AND how you can help them if they hire you. Speak to them when you write. How did you help past companies achieve more success with your unique skills? How do your “soft skills” enhance the “hard skills” you and everyone else will have? 
  3. Research has shown that stories stick with people 22x more than bulleted lists and other “dry” factual information. You’re a person and your entire life is a story, so why not make a narrative for a potential employer on how your exceptionality will help them be exceptional?
  4. Act like you care. I still see many executives who come in with what can only be called a “deserving attitude”. You have to remember, just because you might have had a big job in the past, doesn’t mean you deserve the next one. Show me, show the employer, that you actually care. Submitting your resume only says you want to be considered for the job. Your attitude says more about why you should get the job.

    And here’s a bonus tip: If you wouldn’t read a boring book, why would any recruiter want to read a boring resume? Make it worth reading, make it worthy of you, and make your worth stand out. You’ll find your fishing trips much more successful. 

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