The Resume Writing Journey

Landing a new position takes a lot of strategic action. And until such time as it’s not required, a resume is part of that effort. Here are some foundational resume-writing guidelines:

Know your goal. The resume is a marketing document supporting the achievement of your goal. A goal can be a title or a role. You want to display your goal at the top of your resume under your name and contact information. You can have more than one resume, but only one role or title per resume. Be clear on your purpose. It informs the reader and sets their focus.

Create an Executive Summary at the beginning of your resume that can occupy up to 1/3 of the first page. The Executive Summary will speak to your specific qualifications for the goal you’re pursuing. You can include text, bullets of key attributes, competencies and/or strengths, quotes about you, an axiom that guides you, special awards you’ve received, aspects of your background you want noticed, etc. This section may be difficult to compose and is best written last. The executive summary ultimately synthesizes the data in the body of the resume and alchemizes into your brand, so it requires a good degree of thought.

Career History includes a succinct summary of each organization where you’ve worked. Include company statistics: size, type, notable distinctions to establish context. Make it short. The goal is to keep the reader engaged and moving along while providing relevant information.

Title/Role Description. State titles in your job history followed by a short statement of scope of the role. Scope replaces job description bullets and includes relevant size/type statistics, such as departments reporting to you, budget managed, number of direct/indirect reports.

Achievements/Accomplishments follow title and scope. This data is critical. Create 3-7 bullets of achievements, accomplishments, and/or outcomes (AAOs) per position, with quantified data wherever possible, that will create a “Wow” in the reader’s mind. “Wow” statements constitute your demonstrated track record and your UVP (unique value proposition). AAOs in your most recent positions matter most, but even AAOs further back in your history can display the trajectory of your career.

Test of a successful resume: Only your name can appear at the top of your resume. If someone else’s name can go on it, it’s not distinctive to you and your unique contribution. You need to dig deeper.

Creating a resume with substantive, compelling data is time consuming but likely one of the best investments you can make to leverage your past into a position that’s just right for your next step!