It's a new year and it's time to take a fresh look at your resume. Are you feeling stuck? Does it adequately reflect what you do, your skills and accomplishments?
Whether you can write your own resume or not depends on a lot of factors. Can you write clearly and concisely? Make sure to avoid acronyms and that it is easy to understand exactly what you do. Don't be so specific to your current employer that another company doesn't understand your main duties. Is your resume too long or are you feeling stuck? If you don't know what to do to change it, need a fresh set of eyes or another opinion then you may want to do a full resume consultation or have a resume critique if you prefer to rework it yourself.
A resume is very subjective so you may get conflicting advice from different friends or peers. It is all in the eye of the beholder. How will the potential employer interpret what you have written and how easy is it for them to see what you have to offer?
The first page is key. It used to be that we started with an Objective (i.e. what we want). An employer doesn't care what you want; they care about what you have to offer. Start with a Profile which gives a snapshot of who you are and what you have to offer in one concise paragraph. A profile can read "Bilingual sales professional with x years experience in xxx industries. Strong track record of meeting or exceeding sales targets, opening new territories and launching new products. Customer service focused individual with superior interpersonal, communication and listening skills effectively used to evaluate client needs, establish rapport and ensure client retention." You get the main idea... Depending on the industry you may want to have other sections below that such as Expertise (a bulletted list with one to four word descriptions for each), Summary of Experience, Core Skills or Accomplishments.
For each position, make sure you describe your duties starting with an action verb! Again use bullets with brief concise descriptions. They don't need to be complete sentences. Do you have an accomplishment for each position? Can you quantify your responsibility or accomplishment? For example, "manage a team of support staff and departmental budget" versus "supervise a team of six support staff and an operational budget of $60,000 per year." For someone in sales, "exceeded sales objectives" versus "used effective prospecting, upselling and customer retention strategies resulting in 30% increase in gross sales annually". Obviously the second example is a lot more quantifiable.
Are you looking to change your career focus? A functional resume is definitely for you! I don't recommend a purely functional resume as this wouldn't include an employment history. Creating a functional component at the beginning with a "summary of experience" or "summary of skills" under different categories is useful to show transferable skills.
Do you have employment gaps or experience in different industries? You may want to consider grouping different experience under different headings such as Sales Experience, Customer Service Experience, Other Experience. This way you can change the order of the sections and the work history isn't purely chronological.
Does this seem like something you can do yourself or do you need some assistance? We are here to help. Whether it is a resume critique or a full rewrite, give us a call or forward what you have by e-mail to get some advice. Remember you know your skills and experience, but we can help to get this across to your potential employer. We have over 20 years experience working in almost every industry.