Updated: Feb 9, 2021
Resumes are the foundation for many professional development areas and I hope these tips can serve you! These fixes can take your resume to the next level and can help showcase what a great candidate/employee you are. Having a well-written resume can translate to having a strong elevator pitch, interviewing skills, and negotiation skills. When you nail how to explain the impact of your work to others, you can start to embody the value that you bring. It also becomes easier to understand how those experiences apply to your next adventure.
I come to you from 3 different perspectives: as a candidate, a recruiter aid and as an interviewer. I have reviewed over 100+ resumes in the last few months and there is a pattern of mistakes that I see. I am going to cover the following:
Most Relevant/Impactful Experience has the Wrong placement
Not Tailoring your Resume to Each Job
Not having Quantifiable Impact
Not including your Unique Story
1- Most Relevant/Impactful Experience has the Wrong placement.
LISTEN TO ME: if you have any experience that is remotely close to the job you want, it needs to be at the TOP. Unconventional examples include: personal projects, class assignments, unpaid experience or certifications. On average, a recruiter spends 7 seconds looking at a resume! I SOMETIMES BREATH longer than that. Having the most relevant experience at the top can make the difference when recruiters look at thousands of resumes. When a recruiter or hiring manager looks at your resume for those 7 seconds, your goal is for them to think “Wow, he/she is the perfect candidate!”. Having the experience that is the most similar to what they are looking for is a great way to make that happen! This is a great segue into the next mistake, but lesson is: always place the most relevant experience at the top. PS: if you could make relevant experience take up about half of your resume that would be great too.
2- Not Tailoring your Resume to Each Job
Something that can reduce the possibility of getting your next opportunity is having a generic resume. Even if you are trying to achieve an internal transfer with your company, your resume has to tailor to each job. What does this mean? It means that you need a unique resume to each job that you apply to. The best way to tailor your resume is to understand what the requisition is asking for. Before you "mold" your resume to each requisition, make sure you understand your non-negotiables. A non-negotiable is something that you want that you will not compromise on your next job (e.g a manager with the same leadership values as you, another blog post about this coming soon). But once you know the direction you want to go, this is the time to understand the job requisition. The way that I have gotten a better understanding of what the hiring manager is looking for is by reaching out to people! This may not always be easy, but LinkedIn is a great way to start. Here is a list of people I would try in order of easiest access to most difficult:
-Someone with a similar job
-Someone that works for the company
-Someone with the same role & same company
-Someone in the hiring team
Top questions to ask are: What do you envision the projects in this role to be? When talking about performance, what are common KPIs for this job? What decision guided you to this team? Is there a 5-year vision of the team? Who interacts with this group? Do you see any gaps in the culture? You can also ask specific questions about the projects based on the information you know from the requisition.
3- Not having Quantifiable Impact
The thing that can hurt you the most is stating the activity of your experiences and not the impact. My personal format for good bullets is: What I did, how I it, and the quantifiable impact.
What is the impact may you ask? Questions that can help are: What happened because you were there? What would have been different if you weren't?
There is ALWAYS a way to quantify what you are doing. If you have difficulty with this, I recommend you to read “How to measure anything” by by Douglas w. Hubbard. Let’s create a scenario to make this simpler: Lets pretend you own a cookie stand. You created a banner to attract more customers to your cookie stand. Your initial statement could be "Designed 15 brochures for Cookie Stand using MS word and photoshop". Although that statement has numbers, it is stating only the ACTIVITY and not the impact. Let's say that after you create those posters, you notice that instead of 10 daily customers, you have 15. A better statement would be "Designed 15 brochures using MS word and photoshop that led to a 50% increase of new clients daily". This tells us that we have more customers, that could lead to new sales and more money! You can take it a step further and see how much money those 5 new clients brought in. Your new statement would be "Designed 15 brochures using MS word and photoshop that led to an increase of $1000 in weekly revenue".
I find this to be the hardest part of building a strong resume, but the part that gives the most results. Quantifying impact is my strength, and I work with people to help ease this process by sharing my thought framework. If you are interested in my services visit ginaemoreno.com/book to learn more.
4- Not including your Unique Story
A great way to stand out is to share part of your unique story in your resume! If you are an athlete, create art, or have your own business, these are all things that can tell your unique story. The best sections you can add these to are "Leadership Experience" and "Honors & Awards". Your hobbies, volunteer experience and family business have created unique skills that you can use! Don't be afraid to showcase your full self.
That concludes the most common resume mistakes I see! They are all recognizable within seconds of skimming a resume, and I hope they can guide you on where to start to take your resume to the next level! Good luck! Thanks so much for reading, if you are interested in learning more, please feel free to DM me on Instagram @ginaemoreno or LinkedIn: Gina Moreno.