Resume Tips: Two Risks to Take When Writing Your Resume

by The Burns and McDonnell Careers Team on November 9, 2012

two resume risks to takeAlthough your job search is likely becoming more digital, there’s no denying that a resume remains a critical document when it comes to making a first impression with a prospective employer. Whether you’re writing your resume from scratch or updating an existing draft, there are ways to make it a more effective document — and that includes taking some risks.

Don’t get us wrong — your resume isn’t the place to go crazy! But by taking a step outside of the box, you have a better chance at creating a resume that helps you get noticed — and increases your chances of landing a job interview. The next time you update or write your resume, try taking these two risks:

Tell your story. Statistics are powerful. Since you want to keep your resume brief and to-the-point, numbers can help prospective employers better visualize your skills and professional history. That being said, add some contextual information, too. Avoid a resume that’s simply a list of facts and dates. Let’s take your education section, for example. You’ve probably included your college or university, degree and the date you graduated. How about adding a sentence or two that describes some of your coursework and achievements? That way, you’ll provide contextual clues that help someone better visualize what you can bring to the table — and how you’ll fit in the company.

Tweak your titles. As you’re detailing your past professional experience, examine your job titles and consider how you can rewrite them to more clearly depict your responsibilities — and demonstrate you’re a match for the job you’re pursuing. Consider this example from Simply Hired: Staff Writer versus Staff Writer on Web Technology and Social Media. The second option more clearly states your responsibilities and, in a split second, gives a prospective employer a more thorough picture of your employment history. One quick rule of thumb? Don’t exaggerate your job title or fabricate information — always a must-avoid on a resume! Instead, the goal is to more clearly capture a quick snapshot of your skills, expertise and experience.

You don’t have much time to make a first impression with a resume, and that’s why every word counts. Never hesitate to have a friend or family member read over your resume before you submit it. Receiving input from a fresh pair of eyes can be a big help.

What are your favorite resume-writing tips? We’d love to hear your input!

  • http://www.facebook.com/mike.zamora1 Mike Zamora

    One of my favorite resume-writing tips is to omit items that are not
    applicable. For instance, if you’re applying for a position with technology
    firm and you previously worked as a server at a restaurant – delete the wait
    staff job from your resume. The only time you should consider leaving it, would
    be if this position was your only job and you use it to show that you worked
    your way through college.

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