Last week, my post on concise resumes sparked a lot of interest. I had many people e-mail with thoughts and questions on the topic. One person wrote:
I have no idea how to make my resume concise because my current job entails so many responsibilities. I want to be sure that potential employers know the full range of my abilities.
That's a very common response. Most people are accustomed to putting together resumes that are, essentially, like job descriptions. Taking that approach, how could you not want to mention everything you do in a typical day/week.
The problem is that most people look at it all wrong. Not only do resumes need to be accomplishment (not task) focused, they need to compel the reader to want to learn more - hopefully via an interview. That's why, a few weeks ago, I provided the lowdown on long resumes and how they can work against you.
Overwhelmed? I understand. Let's back up to the core of this issue.
In order to have a great resume – one that presents you in the most powerful way possible – you have to have a handle on what makes you good at what you do. If you do, crafting an incredible resume is much easier and it will lend trajectory to all of your job search activities. So... Why can't people articulate their strengths? A couple of things come to mind:
- First, many people do not have a firm handle on their accomplishments because they are not in the right career pocket. Sure, they may do their jobs well, but everything seems like a big blur because they are not pursuing a passion. If you are energized by the work you do, things are not a blur.
- Next, some people have a pretty solid understanding of their accomplishments, but they don't know how to best present them in a resume, much less navigate our somewhat clunky and frustrating employment landscape. To these people, it seems overwhelming to bullet-ize amazing ideas. To these people, I always say that your ideas and talent DO matter and that the way we look for work is, thankfully, becoming a bit more user friendly.
Once you 1) are doing the right work and 2) can clearly articulate your talent, you're in an advantageous position. It does't end there though. We're in the middle of a rough economy and an employment landscape that will remain competitive for years. Given that, you really have to be in the right career pocket AND invaluable within that pocket. Ask yourself what separates you from other experts in your field? What value do you bring that very few – if any – others bring.
Make yourself indispensable.
Is your career moving in the right direction? Do you love what you do? Can you effectively communicate your awesomeness on a resume?
Send off an e-mail if you need help getting on track.