There's one bummer of a reality you have to face when diving into updating your resume:
Your resume isn’t about you.
Applicants tend to think of their resume as a list of everything they've ever done professionally. But that just doesn't cut it anymore.
You have to think of your resume as an advertisement. A billboard targeted at your potential employer.
In one page (maybe two), you have to cut to the chase and showcase your best achievements, based on what THEY want to see.
How do you know what they want? I'll answer that in a second.
Most companies don’t care what kind of job you want, or what your dreams, goals, and aspirations are (which is why the “Objective Statement” is no longer acceptable on a resume). Nope, they simply want to know one thing: how you can make them, or save them,
Sad, isn’t it? But that’s the reality. Businesses exist TO MAKE MONEY. Therefore, you need to show on your resume that you have created value for companies in the past. Value = money. You add value by:
- Making money for the company
- Saving money for the company
- Increasing productivity or efficiency (providing the opportunity to make money in the time saved)
- Identifying, preventing, and/or solving problems
The very position you’re applying to most likely exists to help an employer maintain and increase profitability. AKA MONEY. You need to ask yourself:
- What’s the benefit of hiring you?
- What can you do for them?
- How can you further their goals so they can make more money?
Now, this concept isn’t so cut and dry for some jobs, but every company, organization, or field values SOMETHING. For example, what if you’re a teacher? Think of what a school administration or a district values: an increase in test scores, an increase in grade point average, reduction in absenteeism, increasing the grade level of one or a few at-risk students, securing a grant, etc.
Want to work for a non-profit? They still value money, although it’s not as cut and dry. Your value may lie in the expertise you can bring to the table, how you can further the organization’s goals, how effectively you can assist in raising money through your marketing skills, creating and maintaining excellent relationships with sponsors, being efficient and increasing productivity, etc.
Once you determine the value you would bring to the company, in your resume, describe the ways you’ve demonstrated this in previous jobs or experiences, and be sure to explain HOW you accomplished it. Here are some questions to help you recall important accomplishments at work that may have added value:
- When did you go above and beyond your job description to do much more than earn your pay that day? What did you do?
- What work concept/technique/skill do you know SO WELL that you often teach to others?
- What have you done that you’re most proud of?
- What have you created/reorganized/designed that’s been incredibly helpful?
- What praise have you received from your bosses or colleagues?
- What are your key strengths and how do you use them at work?
- Your boss always counts on YOU to do that one thing you’re great at. What is that one thing?
Now go create an amazing resume with that one word in mind: MONEY! And for much, much more detail on creating the best possible resume, check out The Ultimate Resume Writing Guide.
Check out some of my most popular resume templates here.