Updated: Nov 23, 2019
Hey, Boss Lady. I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but I will anyway...
Your resume probably sucks.
(But I mean that in the kindest, most loving way possible:)
I’ve been a hiring manager for many roles of varying levels over the years and I’ve hired people for roles as analysts, forklift drivers, call center supervisors, and everything in between.
Literally hundreds of resumes have found their way across my desk, and honestly I can only think of a handful that have stood out. Most, sadly, went unnoticed. Why?
Because they were either too wordy, too cookie-cutter, or just too boring.
Here’s the truth:
If you want to stand out as a top candidate for the job you are applying for, your resume is going to be one of (if not THE) most effective tools to make that happen.
But for some reason, resume writing has become a cringe-worthy topic - so much so that a lot of people differ to hiring resume writers because they are overwhelmed with the task of doing it themselves.
Or maybe you don’t update your resume until after you’ve already decided to apply for a job. Or worse, you wait until the night before your interview to dust it off and add a few updates, and finally settle when it’s “good enough”.
Girl, stop! You don’t have to put off updating your resume, you don’t have to pay someone else to do it for you, and most importantly… it doesn’t have to suck!
Your resume, when used effectively, can be a really powerful self-marketing tool. Luckily - creating a badass resume really isn’t as difficult as you may think it is.
Check this list to see if you are making some of these common resume blunders…
You list your responsibilities instead of showcasing your accomplishments.
If the first section of your resume has your current job title followed by what appears to be your job description ... You're doing it wrong! What value do you bring? This is your time to shine - and this is the section in your resume that makes that happen.
If your resume looks like a job description, you’re missing out on an incredible opportunity to showcase all the amazing things you’ve done.
Try this instead: Showcase (read: brag about!) all the wonderful accomplishments you've made in your current and past roles!
And then: QUANTIFY those accomplishments. Use facts, figures, and data to sell your story.
---> Think you don't have any accomplishments? You're likely just overthinking it. You're so familiar with what you've done, that it can easily stop sounding like a big deal (but it is).
Sometimes getting a fresh perspective can help you see things through a new lens. I'm happy to help if you need a second pair of eyes. Join the membership club for free resume feedback upon your request!
You use the same resume for every application
This may seem counter-intuitive - after all, you're just one person; why would you need more than one resume?
If you are applying to different roles or even the same role, but at different companies, you may be selling yourself short with a "one-size-fits-all" resume.
The expectations of the role, the experiences they are looking for, and the overall cultural feel of the company should all be considered justifiable reasons to make some tweaks.
Bottom line: the resume you submit should reflect the best version of yourself and should directly compliment the role & company you've selected.
Note: this doesn't mean you have 100 wildly different resumes to update. But, 2 or 3 is completely reasonable.
Depending on the job you are applying for, you may want to showcase different skillsets and accomplishments. It's helpful to have 2-3 versions of your resume that highlight these differences instead of having 1 super long resume.
Try this instead:
Print out a copy of the job description and your current resume.
Look for similarities in the required qualifications and your experiences (use a highlighter to call out what you want to focus on)
Emphasize those value-added accomplishments you’ve had.
Put the most relevant bullets first in your list of experiences.
Research the company - are they more conservative? Liberal? Use social media and web material to understand their vibe and ask yourself if your resume matches that vibe. If not - how could it gel better?
Use some (not all) of the same language from the description in your resume. Using too much is obvious, but sprinkling in some of the same wording makes your resume seem like a good fit naturally.
Still confused? Let's chat! I offer free resume feedback for all members on my site.
Lastly, you are afraid to stand out.
In other words - your resume is B-O-R-I-N-G.
Just because a resume is a business tool, doesn’t mean it has to be boring and completely lacking in character. You are an individual, and you have specific skills and talents to bring to the table. Your resume should be a reflection of that truth.
Try this instead:
Add a pop of color to bring some life and visual appeal. Pick one color. (Try teal, magenta, or gold as colors that can be professional & fun!)
Make your name larger and bold the font - make it stand out!
Speaking of font, use something that's professional but also makes you feel good. Hint: Roboto and Verdana are two of my faves.
Steer clear of the generic, cardboard cutout resume templates. Instead, try adding two columns and use the page layout to your advantage.
Make it yours!
Remember, just like us, our resumes are a work in process. Grow with it. Try new things. But most importantly, design it in a way that reflects who you are as an individual - so you feel confident handing it over and you stand out in interviews!
For help on formatting your resume, check out my free one-pager on turning your boring resume into a badass one! Here's the link.