By Pamela Kleibrink Thompson
A resume is more than a recap of your experience and education. To be an effective marketing and sales tool, it must also have these six elements:
R = Relevance
There is no reason to include that entry level job you had at McDonald’s in high school if you have been working in a different industry for several years. Unless you are seeking a managerial position and you worked as a manager at McDonald’s, it’s time to remove that old job and any others like it from your resume. Everything on your resume should be relevant to the job you are seeking. To determine what’s relevant to prospective employers, check out their websites and study not only the job descriptions they post, but also the verbiage they use to describe themselves and their mission statement. Mirror that language in your resume. If the company does not have a web site, research how other companies have worded their job descriptions and incorporate that wording into your resume.
E = Emphasize achievements
Employers are interested in your expertise, experience, education and skills, but they also want to see quantifiable achievements, accomplishments and awards. Why? Because if you have performed at a high level in the past, it is likely you will do so again. Be specific and cite amounts saved, number of people supervised, or other details including size of budgets. Don’t bury your successes. Emphasize results.
S = Sell yourself
Employers are interested in what you can do for them. The resume sums up your experience, but it must also sell your skills and expertise. A summary at the top helps highlight key points you want to communicate to the employer. Remember that you have a few seconds to make an impression. Grab their attention and don’t be afraid to brag.
U = Understandable
Make the resume easy to read. Eliminate non-specific words. If you use jargon or acronyms, define them. Make it easy to find your contact info, including your complete phone number, email address, website, and LinkedIn profile link. Focus your resume on the job you want and excise extraneous info.
M = Match
Make sure your resume aligns with the needs of the company. Use the same keywords used in the job description. Employers are looking for talent that fits in their company culture and their assessment of you starts with your resume.
E = Extras
Include interests, passions, hobbies, and intriguing details. I once called an applicant because he listed that he walked Steven Spielberg’s dog. I had to call to find out what kind of dog it was. People have obtained interviews because they shared a passion with the hiring manager.
Remember, the resume is a sales tool to help you open doors for interviews. Make sure it works for you by including these six elements.
Editors note: This piece first ran in the Fall 2020 print issue of Smart Women Smart Money Magazine and can be found on page 33.
Pamela Kleibrink Thompson is a creative career coach helping her clients transform their lives and work experiences. You can reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org.