My wife and I recently ate at an Italian restaurant in the North End of Boston, where I had Linguine Alla Pescatore and Caprese Salad (with fried tomato). To say the food was out of this world would be an understatement. The atmosphere was authentic and boisterous, the waiter attentive.
What does fine Italian food have to do with a professional résumé? It’s akin to a WOW moment you want the employer to experience when she reads your professional résumé. So what separates the extraordinary from the ordinary? There are nine distinct features of a professional résumé.
1) Tight word blocks. Shorter is definitely better when it comes to writing paragraphs and sentences. People who read a ton of résumés don’t want to read a novel. So put yourself in their shoes and make their job easier; short word blocks of no longer than three or four lines are preferred. As well, bold text serves to highlight important information.
2) Targeted Résumé. This is a concept that makes many jobseekers cringe, yet one that is essential to embrace. Employers, recruiters, and professional résumé writers all insist that your professional résumé should speak to the needs of employer. Therefore addressing the requirements in order of priority is key in writing a professional résumé.
3) LinkedIn Profile URL. Any jobseeker who is in the game has a LinkedIn profile, the networking document to support your targeted résumé. If you have a great LinkedIn profile to match your professional résumé, send prospective employers to it as a way to show them you’re a player.
4) Branding Title. This is something I don’t see often on a résumé, yet it’s what can set you apart from the average job hunter. It tells an employer who you are, e.g. job-matching title, and what your areas of strength are.
Content Generation | Trade Shows | Social Media | Cost Control | Profitable Exposure | Vendor Relations
Note: your branding title on your resume will be similar to the one on your LinkedIn profile, save for the fact that it’ll be tailored to each job.
5) High Impact Performance Profile. This is a section on a résumé that sometimes gets overlooked in a reviewer’s rush to get to the Work History. However, if you throw something in that immediately expresses your value, such as a bolded accomplishment statement, your Performance Profile will not be overlooked.
Example: Operations manager who increases companies’ revenue in excess of $20,000 annually through shrewd business acumen….
6) Core Competencies. Consider the person who’s reading tons of résumés, and consider how he’s looking for the key skills for the position. Now consider how easy you’ll make his job if you have a section that lays out those skills and any additional skills that could be a tie-breaker.
7) Strong Work History. A strong work history is the main course of your dining experience. It’s what résumé reviewers focus their attention on; it’s your chance to sell yourself and close the deal. All that was mentioned above is fruitless unless you tie it together. A professional résumé will include a Work History that includes:
- A summary in paragraph format for each position comprising of overall duties. Its length should not exceed three or four lines, and it should explain what brought you to this position, e.g., “Hired to improve manufacturing production and communications among departments.”
- Key accomplishments in bullet format that are quantified using #’s, $’s, or %’s. A professional résumé will sell you with accomplishments, whereas an average résumé will comprise mainly of duties.
Wrong: Responsible for directing engineers to deliver data storage software.
Right: Directed 15 engineers to deliver—on time—data storage software, boosting sales 55% in a down economy.
Note: Your accomplishments will show employers what you’re capable of doing for him in the future if they’re related to the position (prioritizing your statements).
8) Length. The length of your work history must be relevant to employers needs today, not 25-30 years ago. Age discrimination can also be a concern, so showing 10-15 years is a safe bet. Remember, it’s your goal to get to the interview; and then you can sell yourself with your years of progressive experience.
9) Education. This section usually anchors your résumé, unless it’s a strict requirement; in which case it would follow the Performance Profile. Although this section of your professional résumé seems like a no-brainer, always follow these guidelines: most recent degree first, followed by prior degrees, exclude dates of graduation:
Master’s of Arts, Communications with a Concentration in Marketing, University of Boston, Boston, MA.
Bachelor’s of Arts, English. Bentley University, Waltham, MA
As my wife and I left the Italian restaurant in the North End of Boston, I commented on the quality of the food, the service, and the atmosphere. It was professionally done we both agreed. Make your résumé a professional one that gives the reader a WOW moment.
Great article. I especially like the part about the targeted resume. Applying in today’s day and age is an art and a science.
Thanks, Brian. It is important to show the love by writing targeted resumes to each company, when you can.
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Great and relevant information. Now if I can just get people to believe me when I tell them. Do you have any tips for getting people to accept these simple truths?
If you can show them a resume that has accomplishment statements, for instance, and one that doesn’t, they’ll see the difference. Show them a resume that has a grabbing Summary and one that doesn’t and ask them which resume they’d continue to read. Aaron, it’s really about talking to them and digging out the accomplishments.