3 Resume Tips to add Clarity to your Resume

3 Resume Tips to add Clarity to your Resume

I have some bad news for you; It is highly unlikely your resume will ever be read. In fact, popular statistics show hiring Managers only scan a resume for an average of 6 seconds. 

6 seconds to find the right skills

6 seconds to judge your level of expertise

6 seconds to decide ‘yes or no’

 A resume with simplified or poorly organized information will require the hiring manager to search and analyze for the details they need. Not only does this waste the short time you have to make an impression, but you also lose the hiring manager’s attention very quickly – even if you are perfectly qualified for the position.

This is why it is so important to have a clearly organized resume.

The good news is, you can add clarity to your resume by creating a layout that flows easily, catches attention, and showcases the key information hiring managers are scanning for – and you only need to focus on the top half of the first page. By helping hiring managers run through their ‘must have’ checklist quickly, you may even entice them to stay longer, turn the page, and read more!

Here are 3 simple tips to add clarity to your resume: 

Tip 1

Add pizazz to your name. Use a distinctive, bold, and legible large font.

Tip 2

Add a Headline under your name, including 2 – 3 keywords that encompass your value and expertise using this Resume Headline Worksheet.

Tip 3

A Highlights section ensures the essential competencies and skills are showcased front and center. For example, if you meet or exceed the accumulated years of experience – add it in Highlights; if you have the exact 3-4 top competencies required, list them with evidence of your skills.

Pro Tips:

*Considering many organizations use filtering software (commonly known as ATS – Automatic Tracking Systems) to scan resumes for keywords – don’t be fooled into thinking the layout is less important.  Once your resume makes it through the ATS, it will still face the hiring manager’s 6-second scan.

**Use this same logic in every section of your resume by, clearly defining sections using common resume titles, organize sections and work experience in a logical way, and use consistency in font styles of section titles and content.

Tailor your Resume in 30 minutes

Tailor your Resume in 30 minutes

You’ve heard it time and again – every application must be ‘tailored’ to the position.

 

But for most of us, the thought of updating a resume, even if for an exciting opportunity, makes you freeze with overwhelm.

Before you go into excuses of how your slow operating laptop is on the fritz or how you need to drive the kids to soccer tonight, consider this flip in perspective. It’s not about changing your resume to fit a job, it’s about targeting the employer’s needs!

 

What challenge or problem is the employer aiming to solve with this position?

 

By organizing the employers needs with this Targeted Skills Worksheet, you can shine a spotlight on how your unique combination of experience and skills will generate the perfect solution.

Download this FREE Targeted Skills Worksheet and you will have everything you need to get started:

 

Here’s how to use the Targeted Skills Worksheet to target your resume and cover letter with ease.

 

STEP 1: Assess the job posting

Review the job posting. List all the requirements for the positions in the left column of the worksheet under ‘Job Requirements’.  For ease later, try to group quantifiable skills (hard skills) like education, training, qualifications, credentials, and minimum industry experience, and interpersonal skills (soft skills) like, communication, leadership, organization, relationship-building, team building. 

 

STEP 2: Assess your resume

Match all the quantifiable skills, interpersonal skills, and experiences on-the-job or in the community that align with those in the job posting, listing them in the right column of the worksheet under ‘Skills and Experience’

 

STEP 3: Identify your value-add

Compare the two columns, circling or highlighting the skills that match in each column. List all the top 4 or 5 matching skills in the bottom row. On page 2 of the worksheet, write a validating example or story of when you have demonstrated or achieved each of these top skills. Use descriptive words (or titles) to help you recognize and remember each experience or event. 

 

STEP 4: Update your resume and cover letter

Using the stories on page 2, ‘copy & paste’ or write each into your current resume and cover letter as you see fit. Be sure to frame each in example to showcase how “this skill / experience is how I will add value to your company, organization, or team.

 

And here are two tips to help you along the way:

  • Missing requirements from a job posting? Consider alternative or related expertise you have to offset any discrepancies between the lists and include these in the matching skills section and story section to ensure your cover letter addresses it upfront.
  • Want to speed up the process? Once you complete Step 2, save as a master file. Then for each job application, you only need to update the left column with information from the job posting, and match the appropriate skills.

To really help this system work in your favour, ensure you have a strong resume and cover letter to start with.  Book a free initial consultation with me to see how I can help you prepare an customizable professional resume and cover letter.

5 Steps to add Achievement to your resume and get noticed

5 Steps to add Achievement to your resume and get noticed

Consider these two statements.

As I mother I am responsible to fed my child and keep her clean and safe.  I cook healthy meals and bath her every day. I invested in top notch products to keep her safe and healthy.

~~ OR ~~

Through engaging with my daughter I noticed the things she was interested in. From there I created fun and interactive learning opportunities which resulted in her learning to recite the full alphabet by the age of 3.

Do you question if the second mother feeds, baths or keeps her child safe?  No, these tasks are easily assumed when visualizing this mother engaging and playing with the happy child.  No matter the experience or skills you are describing – what you choose to focus on makes ALL the difference!

In other words, Don’t be afraid to share your achievements!

 

By definition ACHIEVEMENT means:  “something accomplished, especially by superior ability, special effort or great courage; a heroic deed”.

Even reading this now I shy away from the power of the word in relation to my work experience. But in order to really demonstrate in a resume how we can help a potential employer, we need to think about achievement differently.

When you filter this definition of achievement into a workplace setting – achievements happen weekly, daily or even hourly. Consider the below questions – have you ever:

>> gone above or beyond the requirements of a project or responsibility?

>> initiate an opportunity or new process to help an organization overcome challenges?

>> complete a project within the designated timeframe?

>> created a system to get your work done efficiently?

>> share how to do a certain task with a co-worker?

>> make a mutually-beneficial connection, benefiting your employer or organizational purpose?

 

If yes (and you are awesome so I’m sure it is!), then follow these 5 steps to translate your RESPONSIBLE-FOR resume into an ACHIEVEMENT-FOCUSED resume.

STEP 1: Write a long list of your achievements.

Consider all the ‘responsibilities’ you have and then brainstorm how you actually get them done. When have others recognized you or your work, invited you to a team or asked for your help with a solution? What is it that you deliver to made those tasks more creative, more efficient or more enjoyable? Refer back to the list of questions above if needed.

STEP 2: Compare this list to your current resume.

Does your current resume read more like a job posting? Have you shared clearly the OUTCOMES of your work or only listed what you were responsible or tasked to do?  Here’s an example:

‘I was responsible to answer phone and greet guests’. This does not showcase that you did answer the phone, or that you did it well.

‘Maintain consistent and friendly customer service with all clients and guests, both in person and over the phone; Clients often complimented my customer service skills to my colleagues and my superiors’.  Same experience. Different perspective.

Are you starting to notice the difference???

STEP 3:  Rewrite your ‘responsible-for’ statements into achievement-focused statements.

Achievement-focused statements are action statements. They explain what you have accomplished and what you were recognized for in previous roles. They will also help a potential employer envision you in the role, and what you will deliver to help them.

STEP 4 (optional):  Apply steps 1-3 to your Cover letter

Read more on how to write a winning Cover Letter in this previous blog post.

STEP 5: Submit your application for that next big opportunity with a confident smile!

You’ve Got This!!

 

Was this helpful?  Please share in the comments or end your questions via emailI am happy to help!

5 tips to write a winning Cover Letter

5 tips to write a winning Cover Letter

Does this sound familiar? 

Please accept my application…..

In my previous role, I was responsible for…..

I am very interested and available for an interview anytime……

 

If you are bored by these lines, you can imagine how bored Hiring managers are after sorting through hundreds of applications. It’s no wonder many admit to not even skimming the cover letter.

 

But, when done the right way, a cover letter can be an essential part of your job application. Consider it as a soapbox to tell the potential employer about what makes you the best person for the job…..

‘For as long as I remember, I enjoyed organizing. I would spend hours planning every minute of family events and vacations, or neatly sorting the contents of closets and rooms. It was no surprise to my friends and family as they watched me thrive in my role as an Administrative Assistant over the past 20 years.’ 

AND

‘At an early age, I knew I had an eye for design. I constantly visualized practical space and atmosphere – in both physical places and virtual canvases – even before my technical training. Now with over 10 years in the drafting field, I design cutting edge and modern architectural drawings, with a focus on environmental sustainability, that make my clients nod and smile.’ – end quote –

 

How interesting, right??  Let’s move those letters to the ‘KEEP FOR FURTHER REVIEW’ pile!

 

Here 5 quick tips on how you can prepare equally compelling and WINNING cover letters

TIP 1: Remember it’s not a clone of your resume

A resume and cover letter have different purposes, therefore they require different content.

A cover letter is a platform to share your unique value to the potential employer and should include more information than just a ‘coles notes’ version of your resume. Use your cover letter to show some personality that does not fit within the formal format of a resume.

The next 4 tips will give more direction on what to include the cover letter.

 

TIP 2: Take advantage of the introduction

Leverage that opening paragraph to catch the hiring managers’ attention.

One of the most common mistakes in cover letters is using this paragraph to list the job title, organization name and expressing your interest in the job. Instead, move this information to a reference line under the organizations’ contact information (RE: <<JOB TITLE>> at <<ORG NAME>>, (Competition # <<XXXX>>).

Keep reading on to Tip #3 to learn about what should you write about in the introduction.

 

TIP 3: Tell them about yourself

We all enjoy connecting with others, and we do this best through sharing stories.

In the first paragraph, tell a relevant story about yourself. Explain why are you always wanted to write for the New York Times or how you feel energized when you help others. Talk about what specifically interests you about the job or the company (Tip #3.1: Doing research on the company is not just for interviews).

Here are a few questions to get you started thinking about your relevant story:

  • How did you get into this line of work/field?
  • What is your favorite part / What is your strength in this field?
  • What would it feel like to be in this role? What would you like best?
  • What would it be like working for this company? What would you like best?

Note:  These questions are just a guideline and not an
extensive list. Only include details that are relevant and connect you to the job you are applying for.

 

TIP 4: Share WIIFT (what’s in it for them)

You can help make the hiring managers’ job easier by clearly showing what you will do for them. You need to demonstrate the value you will bring to the employer.

So how do you do this?

Let’s consider how sales professionals do it. When a real estate agent shows you a new house, they describe where furniture could go and how you could decorate – helping you visualize yourself already living there. This same strategy can be used for your cover letter.

Paint a picture of you already working and succeeding in the role.

Will you be expected to grow sales, motivate staff or execute a complex project? Use examples of your relevant experiences and achievements to demonstrate how you will help the organization achieve the desired results.

 

TIP 5: Keep calm & keep it SIMPLE

Like all us, hiring managers are busy.

Therefore, your cover letter needs to be a quick and easy read.

Use simple terms and sentences when explaining why you are the best candidate for the job (refer to Tips #3 & #4), and avoid using jargon and acronyms.

As you are proofreading (Tip #5.1: Proofread multiple times!), put yourself in the shoes of the reader. Does it flow? Does it make sense? Is it interesting?  If not, revisit tip #3 and #4.

 

Ready to start writing your way into an interview? 

If not, you can always ask for support from a professional resume writer to ensure your cover letter is a perfect match for that next dream job application.  Book a free consultation or email me directly, I am happy to help!