1. Profile section.
According to Dummies.com, “A career summary [profile] section should be a descriptive selling point distilled from your past accomplishments to emphasize your future value to the potential employer. In it, you list key achievements, skills, and experience relevant to the job you’re applying for.”
Resume writers worth their weight in salt will tell you that the top one-third of your resume is the most valuable real estate in your resume.
This area is where recruiters and hiring managers grab the essence of who you are and what you can do for their company in six seconds.
Yes, I said six seconds!
Your summary must provide the reader with highlights of your strengths and experiences, keywords, and a few accomplishment-based sentences.
So, how do you go about taking advantage of this valuable resume real estate?
First, start by identifying your job target. This sounds simple; but all too often, professionals focus on too many varying job titles with even broader job tasks. This can make writing a great resume profile very tricky. So, focus on one or two job targets with complementary job tasks.
Second, think about and make note of 3-5 of the most notable and freshest accomplishments you have. You will reference these later when writing your profile. You may not use them all, but certainly focusing on the “best of the bunch” will go a long way.
Third, make a concise list of your most relevant experience. For example, if you plan to target positions with companies that are looking to expand internationally, then listing your success with global business expansions should be top on your list.
2. Bullet points vs. paragraph format.
You need succinct, eye-catching resume bullet points that showcase your talents and skills are much easier to read than bulky paragraphs.
Front-loading these bullet points with results first and how you did it second helps the reader grab the important information quickly and will help them identify you as a good candidate.
Surveys for years have shown that recruiters prefer bullet point lists over paragraph format. This technique also helps make your resume much more skimmable, which can go a long way to your resume ACTUALLY being read. Wow, right? ??
3. Achievements vs. responsibilities.
Remember when a resume mainly listed responsibilities? That’s ancient history.
Responsibilities are job descriptions pure and simple.
Employers want to know what you actually achieved—delivered based on key organizational goals.
What qualifies as resume achievements?
Think about sales performance, increased team efficiencies, new policies, procedures, and systems … stuff like this.
They want to know how you performed—the results of your efforts, not just a description of your job functions.
Instead of this:
For example: Replace such statements as “managed marketing department” with “optimized department by building a marketing team that focused on media needs and captured 15% more market share.”
“Work closely with a team of research and development professionals.”
Go with something like this:
“Steer the activities of 23 R&D professionals who recently developed a new product line that is expected to generate $1.3M in revenue this year alone.”
Check out these resume samples to see a few additional examples of how to introduce more achievements into your resume.
4. Board positions or community involvement.
Do your board positions actually help your resume perform better?
Yes! If you serve on a board or play a leadership role in a community or civic organization, include this information on your resume. These details within your resume will provide employers and recruiters with a well-rounded snapshot of you.
For instance, your board or community role may be in an industry you are thinking of transitioning to or may be helpful in expanding your skill set as well as reinforcing skills you already have.
Whether you are paid for this work or not, it counts as experience!
5. Relevant personal interests.
There has been controversy over the years whether or not to include interests and side projects.
Some consider it unnecessary information.
However, looking at this from another angle, it gives a better picture of who you are. And especially if your special interest is related to a potential position, make sure it is included.
I’ve worked with many executives who have effectively leveraged their personal interests/side projects to transition to leadership roles in different industries that interest them.
For example: if you are seeking a position at Titleist (golf ball manufacturer), and you are an avid golfer, adding this information on your resume may help. If you are a marathon runner and applying for a position with a fitness or performance supplement company, this shows the reader you have drive and dedication.
Perhaps you can, too.