The Perfect Resume, IMHO pt. 4: Resume Template

9 02 2011

I’ve been lazy.  Winter months took over, depression from the weather began to sink in.  I avoided writing.  Moody and feeling useless.  But to get out of my rut, I’m back.  A huge thank you to Kaitlyn Cole from careeroverview.com for this mention and to Will Hsu (if you want to hire a great new grad, he’s your guy – contact me for info) for giving me the big kick in the pants I needed to post.

I conducted some interviews today and my goal was to understand their skills, their accomplishments, and how they got to where they are.  I’m always impressed with the interesting things that people have done in their lives.

Which got me thinking about resumes again.  Really.  How do you pique the interest of the company you want?  Assuming that the interviewer is going to ask you probing questions anyway, how will you draw them in?

My sister asked me for my opinion on a resume that she found that was organized by skills.  Under… say, the “Analytical” section, there was a block of text so dense that my eyes started to water.  It got me back to thinking about that 10-second review.

It sounds so non-progressive, but I was taught to write old-fashioned resumes where it listed sections on Education, Work Experience, Awards, and Extracurriculars with a few bullets under each section.  I actually have a really hard time breaking this format and reading resumes that are not organized this way.  I can’t find anything I need.  I don’t know where they learned the skill or if it’s a recent or past experience.  I’m just confused.  You don’t want to confuse a recruiter or interviewer when they look at your resume, right?

So I gave a sample resume before, but I really just want to drive home that the formatting is often overlooked but super important.   Here is the structure I used on my own resume.  Thanks to all the career advisors that helped along the way!

NOTE:  This probably is only really helpful for new and recent grads.  Experienced resumes (for general business roles), shouldn’t be much different.  Engineering and Science resumes are not my area of expertise, guys!  Sorry… the skills resume format might work for those roles, but I couldn’t tell you.

Name
Address
Contact phone, email

OBJECTIVE

State your objective here

EDUCATION

Bachelors of Awesomeness, Field of study,  MM/YY (date received)
Academic awards or distinctions or anything else you want to call out.

EXPERIENCE

Most recent company 1, City, State
Job Title , MM/YY – present

  • Biggest achievement (show results with numbers where ever possible)
  • Second biggest achievement
  • Daily duties that are remarkable or worth calling out

Previous company 1, City, State
Job Title, MM/YY – MM/YY

  • repeat above

Previous internship company 1, City, State
Job Title, MM/YY – MM-YY

  • Just 1 bullet or no more bullets because I’ve been working so long.  Depends on how much more you have to put (and length of the resume)

AWARDS

  • I think I had like one a long time ago.  So I listed it here with the date MM/YY.  You can also list it below and just re-title Extracurriculars to Extracurriculars and Awards (always lead with awards).

EXTRACURRICULARS

  • Org name, Member of the org. that I’m in #1, Date received or MM/YY – MM-YY
  • (you can skip the section above and also put them here)  Awards for talent, merit, academics, or general awesomeness, MM/YY received
  • Volunteering, MM/YY

HOBBIES:  blogging, dancing, yoga, general awesomeness

If you guys spent just 10 seconds reviewing a resume in this resume format, would you be able to quickly grasp my accomplishments in one page?  Just a side note:  I couldn’t move my dates to the right side of the page, but I’d have them aligned there in the experience section.

Draw in these companies in with a shiny object (like results or productivity) and then let them ask you about the rest in your interview.  🙂  You can do it!

P.S. My company is hiring.  In case you guys didn’t see the memo!





The Perfect Resume (IMHO) pt.2 – Experience

7 03 2010

I apologize awesome folks.  Busy as always is never an excuse to neglect helping others.  So I’m back.  I’m here.  I’m yours.

You guys are craaaaaaaving this.  Based on the number of hits from part 1, I have decided to bring you part 2 to this series!  Let’s deep dive into the meat and potatoes of a resume.  The experience section. It’s one that gets a ton of variation in formatting and information, so let me help you understand how to start thinking about it better and organizing your story.

Here’s the thing about resumes.  A trained recruiter will probably only spend 30-60 seconds OR LESS reviewing yours before they make a decision about whether you should be passed on to interviews.

If you have 30 seconds to convince someone to give you a chance, you’re going to want to highlight your most important accomplishments in each role and prioritize these things as the first few bullets in your experience section.  Make sure that every word on the page is necessary and adds value to your story.  Even something as simple as dates in a role can show 1) commitment and tenure, 2) promotion rates, and 3) years of experience.  Because of this, it’s important to show both Month/Year that you started and ended each role.  Those little details and small changes can tell an employer a lot!

Let’s talk more about bullet points

If something’s not adding value, remove it or consolidate and demote it to the last bullet point!  Here are some questions you should answer in every bullet point under your experience section:

  • What did you improve in the company/role?  (Increased sales by 326%….)
  • What was amazing about this?  (…within one month…)
  • How did you do it?  (…by restructuring the sales incentive program to refocus on A, B, and C.)

What’s not included there?

  • I was amazing.
  • Fantastic.
  • Efficient.
  • Awesome.
  • Great.

Let the employer decide for themselves what is amazing, fantastic, and efficient.  You just state the facts about your contributions and what you did to elevate your past employer or role to the next level.

I also really dislike seeing 13481758 bullet points under each section.  Be concise – give 3-5 bullets that have more meaning.  When I see a resume with 3257109 bullets, I get frustrated.  Make it easy.  Synthesize your work by only including what matters.  We’ll interview you to uncover the other details on HOW you did it.

I love numbers!

Using numbers and metrics can also really help to show the speed, scope, volume, and impact that you have left behind.  Employers want to know that you have the basic analytical skills to measure the results of your work.  If you never tracked your work before, you should start!  No matter how well you do, nothing illustrates your achievements louder than numbers on a resume.

If your resume isn’t already formatted to consider these things I said above, revise it.  Then let me know if this changes how many call-backs you’re getting!





The Perfect Resume (IMHO) – pt. 1

16 10 2009

I’m starting a series called “The perfect resume”.  It will take me a bazillion years to figure this out for myself, as well, but I’ll put some tricks that worked for me (and for others).  Let’s start with the basics:

What is a resume?
It’s a simple, easy to read snapshot of facts that illustrate your past experiences, affiliations and credentials for a role.  Let’s call out the most important part for me here:  EASY TO READ.  An experienced recruiter spends a whole of about 30 seconds scanning your resume for facts about you.  So a resume cannot be a brick of text.  It cannot be a 913751875 page memoir.  It’s a simple statement of facts that you’ve collected on your experiences.  Leave it at that!

Resumes should be objective.
It doesn’t matter how many times you wrote “awesome” and “effective” and “brilliant” and “successfully” all over your resume.  It doesn’t count unless you have the facts to back it up.  If all the facts suggest awesomeness, then you are a winner!

Numbers are good.
Numbers are facts that can show you are a winner.  If you made something better, where are the numbers to show it?  For example, numbers, like a GPA, can show you are bright or that you apply yourself and work hard.  Numbers like a % increase in adoption rates or sales for the month help.  But don’t make them up.  Make the best estimate you can and if you’re really just lost, don’t put them at all.  Recruiters and smart interviewers can sniff out fake numbers.  Fake numbers smell kind of like sewage.  yucky.

Who should review your resume?
The more the merrier.  Find a few people you trust and have them look it over for you and give you pointers and feedback.  Have them only spend 30 seconds on your resume and see if they extrapolate everything you wanted to get across about your skills, experiences, and expertise.

No?  Revise it!

Resumes are hard to write, but check out this one from MajoringInCareers.com or alfreeresume.net (I don’t know what the original source is).

I think it’s an okay example, but what might you change about it?

I think it’s an okay example, but what might you change about it?