By Kim Monaghan
When directors search for an actress to star in a leading role, they’re seeking someone who has the qualifications, talent and yes, the image that fits that part. To ensure they’ve got a success in the making, directors carefully scan each actor’s credentials then conduct numerous auditions until they identify the star that will ensure a hit.
Maybe you’re not an actress, but if you’re in the job search, the scenario should ring familiar. Instead of an audition, you’ll go on an interview. Instead of a monologue you may be asked to give a skills demonstration. And in lieu of a director, your fate lies in the hands of the employer. But before any “performance” can take place, you’ll need to land that “audition.” A sizzling resume is your ticket onto the stage. To ensure yours stands apart from the competition, take a look at the production:
Make sure your resume shows you in your best light. Your header should contain all the pertinent contact information, yet look stylish enough to be a personalized letterhead. The content should be well balanced with relevant information throughout. Spacing should be adequate, margins around one inch and the layout not skewed too much to the left (or right). Each section – professional history, education, qualifications summary, etc. – should be clearly delineated with headers, lines or appropriate breaks that guide the reader through the document. Use professional fonts and graphics, but limit the amount of diverse style tools you employ. Don’t leave too much white space, and avoid filling the resume with irrelevant filler.
When the lens is focused on your resume, employ strategies to educate the reader on all the benefits you will bring to the position. Include your strengths, skills and capabilities, but be sure to tread carefully. First, take a moment to fully understand what strengths define you and what skills you possess. Don’t simply create a generic “filler” list that not only takes up valuable white space, but could be claimed by anyone else.
Rather, take a strengths survey or interview friends and peers and find out what inherent characteristics make you stand apart from your competition. As for skills, clarify all the powerful tools and talents you render to get the job done.
Finally, avoid simply listing skills and strengths on your resume and challenge yourself to incorporate them as part of your action statements, qualifications summary and “wins.” By developing illustrative expressions that clarify how you used your strengths or skills to accomplish projects and goals demonstrates that you understand, and are, what the employer is looking for.
Show you’re solutions-oriented. Back up your skills, experience and capabilities with qualifying and quantifiable results. If your resume looks too much like a job description then by all means rework it to highlight what impressive things you’ve done and are capable of doing again.
Tell the employer how you saved, or made, other organizations money; how you increased profit margins; how you designed and implemented creative solutions; and how you met and exceeded strategic goals. Include concrete examples that not only demonstrate growth, but illustrate note-worthy achievements and win-win solutions.
About the Author:
Kim Monaghan is a career coach, consultant and owner of Career Connections (www.cc-career.com). She is a certified resume writer, West Michigan Careers in Transitions Coach and a member of the Professional Coaching Association of Michigan. As a certified yoga instructor, RYT, Kim routinely uses wellness strategies to help her clients explore, develop and thrive in healthy careers.