When it comes to writing a resume, most people know the basics: be brief, use bullet points, and put information in chronological order. But the bigger challenge is figuring out what to put on your resume so that you can get an interview.
In today's job market, many companies use applicant tracking systems (ATS) to scan resumes for keywords. These systems are designed to quickly identify candidates who are a good fit for the job, so ensuring your resume is optimized for ATS is important.
One way to do this is to use AI tools like ChatGPT or BARD. These tools can help you to identify the right keywords to use in your resume and to craft a strong narrative that will stand out to hiring managers.
However, AI tools are not a replacement for human creativity. The best resumes are those that tell a story about your skills, experience, and accomplishments. To do this, you need to take the time to think about your career goals and identify the key messages you want to communicate.
10 steps for writing a great resume that will get you noticed:
1.Consider your resume as a table of contents of your career.
What are the highlights of your career?
What are the skills and experiences that you want to highlight?
What kind of story do you want to tell?
Before you set out to develop your resume, take some time to reflect on all you have done in your career and the “origin story” you want to tell about yourself. You want to be clear about who you are, and what problems you can solve for companies.
2. Identify a theme for your resume.
What are the common threads that run through your career?
What are the values and skills that are most important to you?
What makes differentiates you as a candidate?
The theme should reflect your “hero’s journey”. Your experiences have crafted you into the person you are today. There is no one else like you. Your resumes should leave readers with a high level understanding of who you are, and what you are capable of doing.
3. Have someone interview you on key highlights from your career.
What are you most proud of?
What lasting impact have you had on others you have worked with?
What do you know that most people don't?
Being interviewed can help you to identify the most important stories to tell in your resume. Top executives hire resume writers to help them uncover career highlights worth putting on their resumes. Talking with other people can helping you access memories that are not always easy to recall on your own.
4. Review LinkedIn profiles of people in the role you want.
What keywords do they use?
What are the key highlights they have on their resume?
What is the sentence structure of their bullet points?
Human Resource Departments frequently program ATS systems to look for skills and experience that mirror their current workforce. By reviewing the profiles of people with the role you want, you can gain insight into what ATS systems are looking for.
5. Build an outline of the narrative you want to tell about your career.
What keywords will highlight your skills?
What is the impression that you want to leave with the recruiter?
What stories do you want to tell the hiring manager?
Only include information that you want to speak to during the interview process. Ultimately, your resume should be a collection of talking points that help you communicate who you are and what you can do for the company you are applying to.
6. Focus on the results you deliver.
How many people did you manage?
How many projects did you work on?
What type of financial impact did you make for your customers?
Once you pass the ATS system, the recruiter is your next hurdle. You want to make it easy for them to see you as a person who gets things done. Include numbers on your resume. They are easy for people to understand and can help readers understand the scale and impact of your work.
7.Use AI tools to help you polish your language.
Ask the tool to take complex paragraphs and convert to simple bullet points
Us tool to help craft job summary
use tools like Grammarly to check spelling
But don't rely on AI tools to do all the work for you. Depending on your tool, you could end up with resume language that looks very similar to others that use the same tool. Make sure to tweak the language to be authentic and reflect your unique voice. Beyond getting you an interview, your resume should be a reference tool that helps you during interviews to talk to your capabilities.
8. Use free resume tools to design your layout.
Consider who you audience is
Remember to keep layout simple for humans and ATS to read
Ask others if you can review your resumes for idea
There are several free resume tools available online that can help you to create a professional-looking resume. One of my favorites is Canva. It has a lot of options for resume design. Pick one that aligns with your industry. You want to stand out but must also consider your audience and not deviate too far from what is normal.
9. Get feedback on your resume from others.
Ask them to check formatting and readability.
Ask if person if they know of any highlights you are missing.
Ask if any bullet points are imbugious or hard to understand.
If you know someone who is a hiring manager or a recruiter, have them look at your resume. If not, get someone that has a basic understanding of the industry you are applying in. Address any objective opportunities, such as misspelled words or irregular formatting. Consider subjective feedback and look for trends. Everyone has different preferences. Don’t get bogged down trying to make the perfect resume. It doesn't exist. Focus on accurately communicating your skills, and having no objective errors.
10. Set a deadline for yourself.
Define when you will start on your resume.
How many hours you will spend developing.
When you want it completed by.
It can be easy to spend 20 or more hours on your resume. Every hour you spend wordsmithing your resume is an hour that you are not applying for jobs and leveraging your network to learn about opportunities. The outlined process should take 3 to 8 hours to complete. Remember the law of diminishing returns. More is not always better. Create a good resume, test it by applying for jobs, and make adjusts after 2 or 3 weeks of applying to jobs.
Writing a great resume takes time and effort, but it is worth it. A well-written resume can help you clear an ATS system, impress a recruiter, and get you an initial interview. There are a ton of new tools in the market place that can help you better communicate. Those tools are only as good as the information you put into them. Spend the bulk of your time reflecting on your experiences, skills, and strengths. Craft the story you want to tell, and then use Large Language Models (ChatGPT and Bard) to help you refine your language.
Thank you for reading this blog
I am a father, husband, executive coach, and former retail executive. My coaching expertise comes from 21 years of leading operation, sales, and marketing teams. I understand what it is like to feel stuck, undervalued, and underappreciated.
I also know what it takes to invest in professional development, climb the corporate ladder, and find fulfillment at work.
Your career path is a scavenger hunt. Each opportunity prepares you for the next. Allow me the opportunity to help you clarify your path and accelerate your professional development.
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