Guest post by Nikki Davis

Your resume is an extension of your professional presence. Think of it as your mascot—your very own (very square) hype machine. It exists to announce you and your experience ahead of time to its readers—and if it’s not making its reader want to know more about you, it’s not doing its job.

The challenge is always how to turn your resume into more than just a rehash of all of your old job descriptions. Anyone can copy and paste those into a document and call it a day, but that won’t tell the reader anything about who you are and what you bring to the table. And that’s what interviewers want to know: Would I like working with this person? Is she a good communicator? How has he developed his skills to become better at what he does?

Anyone can copy and paste those into a document and call it a day, but that won’t tell the reader anything about who you are and what you bring to the table.

Your resume should answer those questions instantly—or at the very least, make the reader do a double take to find out more. The way to harness that power is by making sure your resume accomplishes three things:

Expresses your personality.

Years ago, someone advised me to make my resume as plain as possible. “No one’s interested in a cute resume,” they specified. They were only partially right: No one should have to wade through frilly fonts and weird formatting just to figure out if you’re qualified to do a job. Remember, the most important thing a resume should be is easily readable.

But that doesn’t mean your resume should be a two-dimensional bore. It should give the reader a sense of who you are. There are tons of subtle ways to show a bit of your character in a written document: pairing different styles of fonts for header and body text, playing with bold and italic settings for titles and headings, or using section dividers and small graphics with a pop of color.

Sells your skill set.

Skills keywords are a must on any resume—especially if you want to be found by an applicant tracking system or scouted on LinkedIn—but it’s a list that needs to be well-rounded. From the start, move right past tired phrases like “problem solver” and “teamwork” and “organized.” You can and should be more specific.

From the start, move right past tired phrases like “problem solver” and “teamwork” and “organized.” You can and should be more specific.

Focus on the skills most relevant to your specialty. Whether it’s sales or software engineering, warehouse operations or project management, there will always be a core set of job skills that will cover your bases. Make sure to include newer or more advanced skills you’ve developed the most recently. This will give hiring managers a clue as to where you’re at experience-wise.

Shows off your strengths.

Skills are excellent, but what did you use them to accomplish? Did you build or improve any processes at your last job? If you worked on any projects, which ones were highlights for you? Did you break records, receive recognition, or exceed quotas? It’s not bragging if you can back it up!

Employers are, after all, reviewing your resume to gauge your value as a new hire. They want to know that you’re self-aware, able to track your own progress, and mindful of your impact in team environments. If you can clearly illustrate how you did more than just a simple list of duties, your experience will be that much more appealing to your future manager.

woman in red and black plaid long sleeve shirt and blue denim jeans sitting on white
Photo by RODNAE Productions on Pexels.com

These three elements are no-fail building blocks for a resume that’s more like you and less like every other template floating around the internet. Getting it right isn’t always easy to begin with—especially if you’re the only person who’s worked on your resume. This is where a resume writer can be a massive benefit: Having a person who’s trained in writing, editing, the recruiting process, and interview techniques means that your resume will be crafted to be engaging on all levels: technical, structural, and aesthetic. 

Want to know more about how to level-up your resume? Visit my site to see my entire line of job document services, and request a quote for your new resume today!

Nikki Davis is a communications nerd and a freelance resume writer based in Atlanta, GA. She uses her collective experience in recruiting, job design, writing, and content creation to craft job documents that will get more than just your foot in the door. You can learn more about her freelance services at nikkiwritesthings.com (IG: nikkiwritesthings), connect with her on LinkedIn, or follow her on Instagram.

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