I regularly get asked for feedback about people’s resumes and I thought it may be useful to actually share a post on this. I hope the following is of value.
Here are my top tips! Please share to people who may find it useful and let us know any tips you may have too...
Have a Master Resume
Use this as the “repository” of all your achievements; this may stretch to several pages long and you would never send it out as is, but it will help you remember achievements which you may otherwise forget. You can then select and tailor your resume to each job application by reviewing your Master Resume.
Tailor Your Resume
As mentioned above, tailor every resume to each specific job application you make. This is key – if you don’t do that, employers will think you are not really interested. I often receive a resume for a specific role - let’s say a ‘Product Manager’ - and the opening summary it will say something like "looking for my next opportunity in Commercial Sales" ……. What ?????
I do point this out to the individual, but if you are applying direct to a company, double and triple check as this is an immediate RED FLAG.
Achievements over Responsibilities
Something I see often is a list of responsibilities under each role a person has held. It almost reads as though the person has copied and pasted their job description for the role into the resume.
The company you are applying for want to see what your achievements are. It is good to explain what your role was briefly, a bit about the division you worked in and then a list of achievements – such as "exceeded target by X%; reduced wastage by Y%; converted Z leads in Y months". This is even more important if you're in Sales and Marketing or Manufacturing and Operations – you are your statistics!!!!
Your resume is ok being 2-3 pages
You don’t have to have just a 1-page summary. You may be missing a lot of key information by limiting it, but still be mindful of what you add and make sure it's relevant.
Your most recent experience is generally the most relevant
Generally the most recent roles will be most relevant and therefore worthy of more information. Therefore, list more achievements under these roles and less as you head back over the years, unless the role you are applying for is pertinent to the experience X years ago.
Spell check and grammar
Sometimes there will be a few small errors you may miss as you look over – just sense check. In fact, get someone else to check it for you too….. I often miss my own errors! (I’m worried there may be one in this post!!!)
Make sure your resume is up to date
Again, sometimes candidates forget to highlight when they have left a company. Another common error is to quickly update your resume by adding in your current role, but forgetting to convert the wording for the prior role - that is the role you held prior to this very last one - into the past tense,
E.g. instead of "I am leading a team of X" the wording for the prior role should be 'I led a team'.
Account for gaps
Gaps are ok, but just explain what you were doing during that time - traveling, caring responsibilities, Covid-19, surgery etc.
Don’t provide an opportunity to have your resume dismissed because of an easily explainable gap.
Put your contact details on
It seems bizarre, but sometimes people forget to put their email address/ phone number on there. If you are in Software Engineering, Machine Learning Computer Vision or similar roles – you may want to have a hyperlink to some of your work on github too.
If you've had a larger number of jobs in a shorter period, just explain the reasoning behind that (similar to your gaps!). Remember - layoffs happen and there's no need to worry about acknowledging it.
I hope this helps! My heart goes out to everyone affected by the recent changes.
Good luck!!!!! There are many companies actively recruiting. Remember your talents and your achievements, use your network and reach out on LinkedIn.
We will weather this!