Resume writing tips

So you’ve decided that finding a new job is in the cards for you this year. Congratulations! You’ve made a big decision! There are some first steps you might want to take as you evaluate the things that are important to you in a job, company or a manager. Check out other blogs of mine for some ideas! (Getting Started and Career Search Successes)
A good next step is to start thinking about this: You’re a hiring manager. You’re recruiting for a position. You receive many resumes. Do you chose to interview people whose resumes reflect a laundry list of work or resumes that align closely with the position’s requirements and the ideas you have about the most desired work experiences?
I think a cover letter and resume should be tailored for each position to which you apply. A resume should be tailored for every job application! You need to start with a thorough resume that explains your roles, achievements, and work assignments. Then you can use that as the basis from which you can create as many versions of your resume needed as you go through your job search. Having a single resume that you send to every position is not the best way to get noticed, nor does it connect your experiences to the position’s requirements. A resume (and cover letter) that’s tailored to each role is the best way to accomplish being noticed and showing a tie between you and the job.
Let’s say for example you’re interested in a role in product management. I would line up the position description or job posting to your resume and make sure you’ve illustrated each of the key requirements to work you’ve completed. The hiring manager for a product manager role will not necessarily be as interested in your achievements with safety as s/he would your completing a brand overhaul and expanded product offerings. I would spend more of the acreage on your resume describing those projects or achievements that directly relate to a hiring manager’s needs or interests. Make sure your resume includes your achievements!
There is no right or wrong way to do the layout but there are some important tips – make sure the layout is easy to read and follow; keep the formatting consistent; keep the verb tense consistent; and consider how you want to illustrate your roles and accomplishments. There are traditional resume formats that have years worked next to a company name next to your title. Usually you write a short paragraph explaining what you did in that role. That’s a fine approach.
There is another approach you could take, particularly if you’re trying to make a career change, not just a job change. This format also works well if you have a target company in mind where you’d like to work and would possibly distribute your resume to multiple contacts within that company. If there are leaders of multiple areas who might see your resume you might chose a resume format that highlights your achievements with each skill area. The functional leadership or experiences you’ve had in the past are reasons why some candidates chose to dedicate the first page of their resume showing each experience with company examples:
Product Management
  1. Company name – Re-branded product X; achieved x% growth through SEO partnership with third party marketing firm; etc
  2. Company name – Achieved x% growth in market penetration according to industry partners; etc

Sales Leadership

  1. Company name – Improved XXX profit margin …
  2. Company name – Led team to achieve XXX …
Continuous Improvement
  1. Earned Black Belt on XXX date XXX
  2. Company name – implemented global CI initiatives with XXX results
  3. Company name – Supported company’s location in North Carolina to reduce recordable incidents to XXX

Etc …

In this resume format, the second page of the resume has a chronology of what companies, job titles and some details about each company.
Remember, you can chose to modify your cover letter to align with each job you apply instead of adjusting your resume. But some online job application pages do not accept cover letters.
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