Q. Everyone tells me that my resume has to stress accomplishments—but what about skills? What about education and years of experience? Doesn’t anyone value those anymore?
A. Skills, education, and experience are still highly valued. For example, no one would hire a CPA, lawyer, or software engineer without the proper skills, education, licenses, and certificates. But your resume will be competing against dozens of applicants with the same credentials and often with the same length of experience. The only way you can make yourself stand out is to show how you used your skills, education, and experience. You need to put them into the context of solving a company problem, adding to the company bottom line, or improving your job performance. Those are examples of accomplishments, and that’s why accomplishments are so important: they help to separate you from the pack.
Q. You give great advice, Robin, but the more I read about resumes, the more confused I get about what employers want. What is the most important thing my resume should tell them?
A. On a basic level, the most important thing your resume should tell employers is how to reach you! Surprisingly, over 25% of the resumes people send me for professional review and re-writing have critical contact information wrong, missing, or hard to read. On a deeper level, your resume should show employers that you are the person they are looking for. Your resume must align with the job requirements listed in the job posting or advertisement—it has to show that you have the right skills, experience, and education and that your past accomplishments have brought value to former employers. Finally, the resume has to do all this concisely and neatly: no rambling paragraphs, no grammatical or spelling mistakes. If you feel overwhelmed, please contact me. My job is to take the “overwhelm” out of resume writing!
Q. I want to move from a small company to a large one with more opportunities for career advancement. How do I present my small company experience as a plus?
A. Experience in a small company is broad-based experience. You are more likely to interact with individuals across levels, functions, and even borders. You are more likely to take on (and succeed in) projects that would not be part of your mandate in a larger company. That breadth of experience, ability to communicate, and flexibility are all traits that employers are looking for when they hire. So your resume should stress, not the size of your current company, but what you accomplished while you were there. You should also let go of your expectations for a title. A vice-president in a small company might be a division manager in a larger company, and yet have far more potential for growth.
Contact Robin’s Resumes® today for a resume that gives employers—and job seekers—what they are looking for.