Today I’ll show you how to write a killer resume which grabs recruiters by the eyeballs.
What’s the trick to writing a resume of this calibre?
It’s simple (but not obvious) – you must ensure that your resume is in step with the times.
The world of resume writing has changed significantly in the last 2 years as a response to the rapidly evolving recruitment industry.
Of course, this also means that your resume writing skills must reflect this change.
Which is the focus of today’s post.
I’ll share with you rules of resume writing which will help you position yourself as a winning candidate in front of recruiters. By the time you finish reading this post you’ll know how to write a resume that is a highly persuasive, compelling and unique.
(If you would rather save time and obtain even better results, consider using my resume writing services).
RESUME WRITING RULE 1: CREATE A COHERENT JOURNEY.
Entrepreneur Gary Vaynerchuk once said, ‘Great marketing is all about telling your story in such a way that it compels people to buy what you are selling.’
He is right.
Great stories have structure. And superb resume writing means ensuring that your resume tells the story of your personal brand.
The main body of your resume (your job roles, responsibilities and achievements) needs to paint a clear and coherent picture of your expertise and value proposition.
Often, I work with clients who have taken a role that:
- was slightly off their career path
- didn’t work out (they got fired, etc), or
- was undertaken alongside their ‘day job’.
Issues arise when this role doesn’t fit in with the professional branding story they are trying to tell. It confuses their value proposition.
If you have a role like this, you need to think carefully about how to include it (if at all).
One option could be to include an ‘Additional Experience’ section at the back of your resume where you can talk about these roles succinctly and highlight the transferable skills that can be applied to your brand.
(Bonus Read: Should You Include Your Date Of Birth On Your Resume?)
Another resume writing trick is simply to list this role in your employment summary (and omit it from the main body of your resume).
Think carefully about your job roles, what skills they demonstrate and how they fit in with your professional brand.
RESUME WRITING RULE 2: ELIMINATE 3RD PERSON THROWBACKS.
Once upon a time writing professional profiles of resumes in the 3rd person was considered to be the gold standard of resume writing.
Now it’s considered old-fashioned.
Your professional profile is the introduction to your brand and needs to paint a picture of you as a relatable professional person – in your voice.
‘John is a seasoned Entrepreneur with 20 years’ success in business leadership. He is recognised for his energetic approach in transforming start-up ventures into multimillion-dollar entities.’
‘I am a seasoned Entrepreneur with 20 years’ success in business leadership, applying an energetic approach to transform start-up ventures into multibillion-dollar entities’.
The difference may seem subtle, but is noticeable – recruiters want to connect with something (and someone) tangible.
RESUME WRITING RULE 3: AVOID INFORMAL GRAMMAR.
Your resume is a formal, professional document and should be written in such a way that reflects this.
Using informal grammar such as ‘I’m’ and ‘I’ve’ is perfectly acceptable when writing your LinkedIn profile. However, when writing your resume you should opt for formal formats – e.g. ‘I am’ and ‘I have’.
This is a quick problem to fix; a 5-minute time investment ensures that you’re pitching your language at the right level.
While we’re on the subject of pronouns, remember that their use should be restricted to the Professional Profile. They should not feature in the main body of your resume (where you should be expanding on your individual roles).
For example, rather than saying:
I develop and execute multi-brand marketing strategies that deliver revenue growth.
Lead the development and execution of multi-brand marketing strategies that deliver revenue growth.
RESUME WRITING RULE 4: INCLUDE EMPLOYER INFO.
There is one very valid (but not obvious) reason for including a short blurb about the organisations you are affiliated with – recruiter snobbery.
Connotation and association are natural human reactions.
Your resume could end up in the “no” pile if the organisations you have worked for are unfamiliar to the recruiter (while your competitors are citing companies such as Google, Westpac or Woolworths).
You can reduce this risk by including a short (no more than two lines) summary on the organisations you have worked for that focuses on the size, scale and value of the businesses.
(It’s not enough to copy and paste from the ‘About Us’ section of the employers’ websites. Your summary needs to contain the key facts that will give meaning to recruiters, namely business speciality/structure, geographical presence, employee numbers and annual turnover).
RESUME WRITING RULE 5: CREATE STRONG ACHIEVEMENTS.
An eye-tracking study undertaken by usability research pioneer Dr. Jakob Nielsen found that the dominant reading pattern looks like the letter ‘F’.
What this means for resumes is that after a recruiter has read our headline (aligned with the first horizontal line of the ‘F’), they move on to focus on the left-hand-side of the text (or the vertical line of the ‘F’).
It follows, then, that your achievements will have more impact if you front-load your sentences:
Designed and implemented a leadership training and development program that resulted in a 10% increase in staff engagement rates.
Increased staff engagement rates by 10%, designing and implementing a leadership training and development program.
(Bonus Read: How To Write Resume Achievements Like A Pro).
RESUME WRITING RULE 6: SAVE YOURSELF.
It may seem obvious, but time and time again I see resumes that are saved with names that don’t do you any favours with recruiters.
- CV – not helpful for filing/finding
- Ann_Draft_CV / CV Draft – Doesn’t suggest much effort in preparation
- John_Sales_Only_Resume – Could suggest a second sector choice
- Alex_2006 – Looks like your resume hasn’t been updated since WWI (or thereabouts)
First impressions count – and if a recruiter makes a negative judgement before even opening your resume the odds get stacked against you.
Keep it simple, for example – e.g. Goodwin_James or Goodwin_James_[company/recruiter name]
THE STEPS TO WRITING A KILLER RESUME.
I hope that by reading this article you have learned how to write a resume which confidently grabs the attention of recruiters.
Resume writing is not a quick process – I suggest that you will need to invest a few hours per day across a couple of weeks into the process of writing a top-grade resume.
Of course, as I mentioned above, you can save yourself a great deal of time by hiring a professional resume writer. If that’s the path you choose to take, be sure to read my guide to choosing the best resume writing service first.