I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Writing a killer resume has nothing to do with smoke and mirrors and everything to do with stand-out content. The goal is to blow away all the other candidates, right? I can guarantee that most of those other applicants are going to search the internet for every possible trick they can use as an edge. But that’s all they are going to find. Tricks. And at the end of the day, I’d rather be treated by an actual surgeon rather than an actor who simply plays one on TV.
Here are just a few of the strategies I use to create killer resume content.
Instead of using hollow adjectives like “exceptional leader” (ugh), I might say “natural born manager with virtually 0% turnover…”. In my mind, the truest measure of real leadership is always going to be how well you, as a manager, retain your valuable talent. The great news is that job market has officially tilted and it is an applicant’s market. YOU call the shots and it is the company that needs to do the wooing!
This is one is for the Boomers out there – instead of trying to hide your age and omitting the dates from your resume (more smoke and mirrors), I prefer to let accomplishments lead the way. What I do is make sure that the bullet content is so strong that age becomes completely irrelevant. Did you produce double-digit growth? I suggest saying something like, “Masterfully delivered revenue growth in excess of 30% and effectively destroyed the competition in a down market.” See? Who cares if you might qualify for Medicare Part D soon?! Leave the dates but only go back 10-15 years.
A third big mistake that I see folks make a lot is over-emphasizing their job duties. More smoke and mirrors! Instead of providing an exhaustive list of everything you’ve ever done (which no one other than your mother cares about), rely on your biggest achievements for your bullet content. Three really strong accomplishments will beat 10 job duties any day of the week! It is easier to read, easier to digest, and easier to influence the reader.
For additional resume writing tips, check out my blog on the best and worst words to use on your resume. Get rid of the cheap tricks and what you’ll be left with is a new job.