Resumes are supposed to give hiring managers a standard way to compare information about candidates, but they often end up making applicants seem like clones. As a job seeker, you can take a chance on injecting personality into your writing or continue repelling recruiters with a traditional bland resume format. When you tell an engaging story in your own voice, you attract employers who recognize your value.
Traditional resumes are usually full of dry, vague language that describes what you do but not how you do it or why it matters. That's why many experienced hiring managers avoid recruiting from the general applicant pool. You may have the same job title as hundreds of other applicants, but you likely encountered different problems, made different choices and had unique impact on your past employer. The real point of a resume is to provide details about your past experiences and sell your personality, which you can't accomplish with a cookie-cutter approach.
Get Down to the Facts
To get hiring managers to contact you, answer their most pressing questions right on your resume, says Liz Ryan, a recruitment consultant and founder of the Human Workplace. She advises job seekers to include these key points with each position:
1. A brief description of the company's operations
2. The core problem you were hired to solve
3. Your major priorities and accomplishments in the role
4. The measurable impact you had on an employer
5. Your reason for leaving the job
While it may seem like a lot of information, the goal is to swap out dull bullet points with direct and detailed facts whenever possible. A good resume format provides context for your career path, so hiring managers think "this person gets it" when they read about you. Despite what you probably learned in the past, it's okay to write in first person and use complete sentences. Writing in your own voice is one of the most effective ways to show, rather than tell, people how you think and communicate.
Show Actions and Outcomes
Crafting a strong, creative resume can be difficult because you might not see yourself as a superstar. Simply think back to past interviews and the pain points you discussed with hiring managers. Consider this example.
Social Media Manager, 2015-2016
Strong Foundations, Inc. is a $3 million family owned construction company that specializes in small commercial office buildings. I was hired to build a social media presence, so the company could expand to larger commercial projects.
-I collaborated with project managers, client representatives and skilled tradespeople to generate a list of 10 performance metrics for building the company's target audience.
-In the first year, our targeted campaign led to three new contracts totaling over $7 million.
-I left Strong Foundations to work with a consulting firm that specializes in helping small businesses leverage social media.
If you need more material, ask colleagues what they consider to be your strong points. Others can often see what makes you special when you're stumped on how to convey your value.
Hiring managers have problems to solve, and they want proof you can help them. Showing creativity is just a way of backing up your words, making it easy for employers to visualize your skills.
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