Imagine that you’re at a party and there is someone you really want to meet. Perhaps even date.
You don’t know each other at all, but you have heard a few salient points about them.
Yet you need to come up with a stand-out way to capture their attention – so that eventually, you can advance to winning their heart. Let’s consider a couple of options.
(Bonus Read: How To Write A Standout Resume: New Rules Of Resume Writing).
You introduce yourself and tell them everything there is to know about you from early childhood until now. Your story starts out
Your story starts out at a 2,000-watt radio station after the war and progresses in slug-like fashion from there.
Snooze factor aside, one could argue that this approach is quite practical. After all, it could save a lot of time and potential heartbreak.
From their perspective, however, you’re likely to come across as annoying. And maybe just a tab bit crazy.
(Bonus Read: Example Resume For The Australian Job Market).
Your approach is more targeted and sublime. You share a witty and rare gem from your time in the theatre that is just enough to intrigue.
It resonates with a need or interest of theirs. The thrill of the chase is on. From your end, this could feel risky. Like you’re playing a game; not being transparent. Self-doubt kicks in.
You think .. “If only I had told them I graduated with First Class Honours at university – they’d have loved me right out of the gate.”
But for them, the gradual reveal makes the discovery of the real you a genuine and pleasant surprise.
Kind of like getting your resume just right.
So, picture this.
YOU’VE SPOTTED A JOB THAT IS PERFECT FOR YOU.
You want it so much, you can almost taste it.
Here’s the glitch. Your resume is out of date. You might have had it professionally written (maybe you even used our resume writing services). But you’ve had a few jobs since then, so a ground-up revamp is in order.
Now, your resume is often your first point of contact with a recruiter. You’ve never met this person before, but it’s now someone you want to court.
When you sit down to write (or make amendments to) your resume, I encourage you to keep our love-connection scenario above fresh in mind – and remember this…
DO NOT CLING.
It’s not that the finer details of your career don’t matter. It’s just that you don’t have to tell your whole story in one shot.
In fact, it’s impossible to do yourself justice that way. Besides, having too much content on your resume is bound to make you look out of touch with the market.
Back in the 1990’s, resume writing was seen as a job for English professors. It was prudent to err on the side of formal. Maybe even call it a Curriculum Vitae.
In the digital age, resume writing is like any other form of copywriting. Since you’re marketing your brand, it’s about the art of saying more with less.
Have a look at the webpages of startups like Uber and AirBnB. Compare them with long sales pages of the late 20th century Internet. Now you’re getting the picture. Hello, 2017.
To make sure that you have a resume that works in today’s world, here are five tips for writing it in a way that engages your audience.
1. START WITH YOUR STORY.
Before you begin to chop and spice, it’s important to get grounded in what you stand for. It’s called your USP (Unique Selling Proposition).
Ask yourself what you do that no one else does, why, and for whom. Knowing this will help you determine what’s in and what’s out for your resume.
Also, tailor your USP to the position and the industry. Your resume shouldn’t be a one-size-fits-all.
2. WRITE LIKE A MARKETER (OR A POET).
The best marketing copy is, dare I say it, like poetry. Each word packs a punch. Has a reason for being there.
Buzzwords, long-winded sentences, adjectives for the sake of it are like empty calories in your diet.
What’s that – you’re no David Ogilvy or Wallace Stevens? Doesn’t matter. With practice, patience, and the discipline of measuring each word against your USP, you’ll polish your resume like a diamond.
3. DON’T LIST EVERY JOB YOU’VE EVER HAD.
Understand the needs of your potential employer. Then go back to your USP. What is it that you can uniquely provide to satisfy their needs? That, in turn, will help you decide how to position your job history.
It will also help you decide what you should include, and what you should scratch.
Other things to consider: Don’t go too far back with jobs, as it may make you seem too senior (read: old).
Oh, and don’t do anything silly like cutting and pasting your job description into your resume, or use words from the job description you’re interested in. Be unique, because you are.
4. DESIGN FOR ONLINE.
It’s critical to remember that your resume may never be printed. In fact, it’s most likely to be perused on a smartphone while your millennial recruiter is multitasking.
Think contemporary, clean, easy-on-the-eyes for your design. Put your most important information at the top of the visual hierarchy, and let the rest flow from there.
Again, get some inspiration from startup websites, the slide share section of LinkedIn and even Nancy Duarte’s blog on visual storytelling.
5. SPREAD THE LOVE AROUND.
Don’t feel the need to cram everything into your resume. That detail you were dying to add? Put it on your LinkedIn profile. Or better yet, on your personal website.
Like all the great brands around today, yours needs to be disseminated across a number of touch points. Allow each one to tell a different part of your brand story.
Remember, your humble (but soon to be amazing) resume is just one piece of your personal branding pie.
WE STARTED WITH LOVE SO WE’LL END THERE.
Your career, and the positioning of it, should be a labour of love.
It is, after all, how you spend most of your life. That passion and devotion you have for what you do should shine through in every single word of your resume.
Infuse it with the love of your craft. Poring love into every aspect of your brand will help you make the career connection of your dreams.
Even if your career really did start in a 2,000-watt radio station after the war.