Next time you head out for a nice meal, I want you to pay attention to the menu. Why? Because that menu is full of best practices for writing an effective resume. Check it out:
Length – How long is the menu? In many upscale restaurants, the menu is a single page that presents a list of items that have been a carefully curated with a specific kind of customer in mind. The menu outlines just a handful of choices, because diners want options, but they expect the expert chef to have whittled things down for them. Take Away: Curate your experience in the same way that a chef curates a menu. Consider your audience and present what you are most proud of and what you feel will be most appealing.
Descriptions – Notice how each dish has just a few items listed beneath? The menu isn’t outlining the recipe. It is not providing a detailed description of each component. Instead, it is just highlighting the most compelling ingredients. Maybe it’s showcasing the protein or a vegetable from a local farm. Perhaps it is mentioning the cooking method. Take Away: When creating your resume, provide a brief overview of each role. But just highlight the most compelling aspects of each role (people you led, size of your budget, etc.).
Strategic Placement – Do you see a few items around the menu that are highlighted? Maybe they have a box around them or are bolded. Those are intended to draw your attention for multiple reasons. They may be there to establish a price base (i.e., an expensive item that is intended to make other items feel like more of a value). They may also be there because that is what the chef would like you to order. Regardless, there is a strategy behind what is highlighted. Take Away: Be strategic with what you highlight. Frame out your compelling branding statement or bold some key phrases. Know what you want readers to focus on and why.