How to Write A Resume That Works

If I asked, “What is the purpose of a resume?”  Most people would say “to get a job.”  Okay, my comeback to this answer is:

  1.  Any job or a specific job?
  2. A job in your current industry or job in a new industry?
  3. A job that makes a lateral move or a job that moves you up the ladder?

A resume is a summary of your experiences, skills and accomplishments.  But it is also a tool to manage your job and career.  And before you even begin writing it keep in mind what it is you want it to do for you.  How you write and present your resume should be dictated by what you want your next step in your job or career to be.

For example, take item one above.  Now I know what it is like to be in a job you hate so much, you’d just as soon drive your car into a wall rather than go in and face another day in the hell hole.  First, I will never let this happen again (and you shouldn’t let it happen either) and second, in a case like this any job looks good and jumping out of desperation isn’t wise, but I get it.  In this case, the purpose of writing a solid resume, may be to blast it out on the job site boards or send it out in mass to employers and get maximum exposure to get out of your current, horrible situation.  It’s playing the numbers.  But what if you want a specific job?  A job you know exists or a job that was advertised?  Should you use the same resume?

No.  Write the resume to the specific job.  That doesn’t mean lie.  It means if you know the skills and experience the job requires, and you have those, write your resume to highlight how your abilities and experience match the job requirement.

Most advertised positions tell you exactly what the employer is looking for.  In writing there is a saying – Don’t bury the headline – Same in a resume.  Write your resume to highlight your skills and experiences to what the employer has advertised.    Does that mean your resume should be different for every job you apply for?  If you want to increase your chance of getting hired, yes.

But what if you don’t have the experience and you want to change industries?  Changing industries isn’t easy and a resume is just one of the tools you need to use to help you make the transition.  It should be written to showcase how your current skills parallel, are similar, or overlap, those that are required in the new job.  There are other sites like “48 Days to the Work you Love,” https://www.48days.com/ that can speak to this better than I can, but once again, your resume is only one tool to help you make this move and it should be written to support the transition to a new career.

But, if you’re not looking to change industries or careers, and just want to move up, your resume should demonstrate that you are ready for this next step.  Every industry has its own requirement, but your resume should showcase you’re increasing experiences and responsibilities and these should coincide with whatever the upward steps are in your industry.

In a social media world, a resume is just one tool to help you meet your job and career goals and you should always bring the right tools for the job.  Keep your next step in mind when writing your resume. Whether it is to jump ship, move up in your career, or move into a new and different career, write your resume to reflect this next step and make your resume work for you.

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