Sooner or later, no matter what stage of your career you are at, you will need to give your resume a face-lift. As you may have noticed, the Internet offers page after page of advice explaining the importance of social media profiles and how it is paramount that your resume and social profiles are all in sync.
Regardless, the basic principles of a good resume remain: your resume needs to be an up-to-date presentation of your skills and achievements, that displays your ability to perform the job you want to apply for.
So where to start? Working as a CPRW (Certified Professional Resume Writer) at Resume Writer Direct, we provide a range of professional resume writing services and deal with clients from a range of backgrounds, from C-level executives, right through to high school graduates. Most of our clients initially engage us by providing an old out-of-date, resume and ask us to "update" or "edit" this document.
My advice will always be: for each step in your career you need to start afresh. Do not try to ‘update’ an old resume from 5 or 10 years ago. Instead, begin writing a new resume that specifically targets the jobs level and industry you want to apply for.
When writing a resume you effectively have 3 options:
All are perfectly viable options, but I would always advise at the very least that you use resume-builder software. Available online for only a few dollars, they offer a plethora of formats, essential writing guidelines, and also help with wording, including pre-written industry specific bullet-points.
Preferable to using a resume-builder is to employ a professional resume writing service. These are highly effective and, in my professional opinion, well worth the investment.
Research conducted by ResumeCompanion.com showed that 6/10 professional to executive level candidates use a professional resume writing service. They also discovered that a professionally written resume makes you 40% more likely to land the job.
So to combat high levels of unemployment in the US, what exactly do professional resume writers know that makes such a difference to your resume, getting you an interview? What is the secret to an effective resume? What specific information does a professional writer highlight that catches the recruiters eye so efficiently?
All resumes consist of certain backbone content that structures your resume; your contact details, your work history, education, etc. This however should not be the focus of your resume.
Instead you want to extract your actual achievements from your work history, while expounding on the scope of your responsibility. As a professional resume writer, I look to attain anything quantifiable from your work history.
We all know that recruiters don’t spend a long time reading a resume, so I look to include as many statistical facts as possible. Put simply, numbers catch a reader’s eye. For example:
This shows the reader in one short, concise bullet point that you had a significant positive effect on your previous work place.
You should apply this principle also when expounding your scope of responsibility:
This highlights that you can successfully lead both a large and busy establishment, with improved revenue as a result of your employment.
Here’s how to apply this advice when writing your own resume: before you start, go back and review your performance within your old jobs, looking for quantifiable factors. You then need to deduce the positive impact you had within each position.
Think about two things: what your scope of responsibility was, and what improvements you made, i.e. your success. Below is a list of quantifiable factors to measure your scope of responsibility:
Here’s a list of common quantifiable factors to measure success:
Obviously these lists aren’t exhausted, and these factors vary according to your specific industry, so have a think.
The statistical data you use in your resume doesn’t have to be exact though if you are still working and preparing your resume for an upcoming job opening then certainly try to attain as precise data as possible. If however this information is not at hand, then you can make educated estimates. Here’s an example:
If you knew your car showroom held on average 20 cars, at an average value of $45,000 per car, then you can rightly state:
It’s all about quantifying your resume. Obviously there is a range of other factors that contribute to a powerful and effective resume, including whether or not you have a strong work history, but this one key aspect of resume writing can certainly help ensure your resume catches the recruiting managers eye.
This will ensure your resume is not only read in full, but that the recruiting manager reads the right information that they are looking for: what you have to offer them as an employee.
Following this tip will certainly increase the response rate of your resume. In addition, remember that your resume should be individually tailored according to your specific career. Make sure you use a format that best presents your career information, tailor your career objective or opening profile to target the job position you are applying for, and omit any work history that isn’t directly relevant to the target job, so to avoid a cluttered resume.
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