When you strip away all of the bells and whistles, a resume is basically a sales tool. But instead of selling products or services, a resume sells your most important commodity – you.
Unfortunately, many jobseekers miss the point of a resume. In an effort to keep pace with the latest style trends, they download a few sample resumes and plug their information into prefabricated templates without considering why a solid resume is important.
First and foremost, a resume is a sales tool – a promotional device designed to capture the attention of prospective employers and hopefully pave the way to a personal interview. So from start to finish, your resume needs to written in a manner that highlights your strengths and makes your candidacy irresistible to employers. Does that sound like a tall order? It may not be as difficult as you think. Here’s how to get started . . .
Long-winded resumes full of flowery language and filler material are like kryptonite to employers. As the number of applicants for available positions continues to rise, today’s employers prefer applicants who can clearly and succinctly make their point. If you are in the early stages of your career, a single page resume should suffice; more experienced candidates should limit their resume to two pages.
Anyone can make vague claims in a resume. But the resumes that stand out to employers are the ones that emphasize empirical results. For example, the phrase “Consistently outperformed sales objectives” sounds nice. However, “Exceeded sales goals by 5,000+ units (30%) for each of the past five years” gives employers something they can really sink their teeth into.
Create a Career Narrative
The most successful sales professionals create a narrative or story around their products. The same strategy can be applied to your resume, regardless of the type of position you are hoping to land. Employers look for resumes that make sense and illustrate a logical career progression. Career gaps are sometimes unavoidable, but with a little effort they can be finessed into a coherent narrative that emphasizes your vocational strengths.
Consider Various Resume Formats
There are several different types of resumes you can employ to sell yourself to employers. Although a chronological approach is the most common resume format, a functional or targeted (by employer) resume may be a better vehicle for communicating your message to employers.