Make your resume 50x better in 15 minutes.

It has occurred to me.

(thanks to the BOOM in resume business since Jan. 1, thankyouallsoverymuch!)...

It has occurred to me that 'tis the season for resume makeovers.

New year! New year! New resume! New job! New outlook!

Kudos. You are awesome for working to better your sitch. This is your life. Don't ever forget that.

Back to resumes. Bottom line:

Ya gotta stand out. Stand. Out.

standout.

STANd OuTTTT.

You do realize there are large packs of similarly qualified people going after the same jobs, right?

packs.

So stand out.

Now, you can certainly order up a Ridiculously Awesome Resume(before Feb. 1 if you want to grab one at 2010 pricing!) from me if you're not much of a do-it-yourselfer.

But if you are?

I present to you,

A 15-minute exercise that will make your resume 50x better...

  1. Identify and remove every "Responsible for..." phrase you've got on your resume. Now. Seriously, now. It is far and away the most overused phrase on resumes. Do you think I, the resume reviewer, would consider for even one minute that you'd list something that you were NOT responsible on your resume? Right. You wouldn't. Get it out of there.
  2. Ask yourself the following three questions:  What am I most proud of (at each employer)? What are the biggest things I accomplished/pulled off/salvaged/etc.? AND If someone asked my colleagues 'What's the best thing Mary brought into this job/organization?' what would they say? OK... now craft bullet points that succinctly showcase these answers. Employers need to understand your "so what?" So what? What is so great about you versus the 800 other people chasing after that job? Showcase it.
  3. Get rid of the graphics, text boxes, photos and other bells and whistles. This is especially important if you're applying for positions online. Digest this thoroughly: the very first place your resume will go is into a company's applicant tracking system (ATS). If you have a lot of add-ons in your formatting? Good chance your resume will get all garbled up in the transition. And this could well mean that your resume is NEVER READ by human eyeballs.  More on this...
  4. Lose the Objective.  Executive summary that shines a light on the key highlights of YOU? Absolutely. Objective? I say no. Lame. And they almost always look contrived or overtly obvious: "Seeking a meaningful position with a fair-minded, growing organization that will benefit from my skills and experien....zzzzzzzz" (oop, sorry, I totally dozed off. Lose it.)
  5. Align your key words. You going after a specific job with a specific company? Take a close look at that job description and make damned sure you're using many of the same terms and phrases on your resume. Hey, remember the ATS mentioned above? It is programmed to look for your resume based on the terms within that very same job description. Align. Align. Align. Every single time, for every single position you pursue.

15 minutes. 50x better.

Now your turn... what do you love/hate most about your resume? What's the hardest part about crafting a resume?

Photo source: flickr.com creative commons: Squacco