It’s 2017. Do I still need a resume?

Ah your resume. It sums up your value, your skills and that 40 years of prime living time called your career.

The answer is yes. Not only do you need one, you need a great one.

do I still need a resume

Writing a resume can seem daunting, tedious and even be a little insulting.

A resume merrily distills your daily grind into a few bullet points. Think about it. Other than your obituary, where your lifetime is condensed to roughly 500 words, the resume is the most insulting document that represents who you are and your contributions to the world.

A good resume can get you a call. But a great resume can get you the first call. 

For being a piece or two of paper, it carries a lot of weight. It can make you doubt your choices. You could spend way too much time wondering if the word managed should in fact be supervised. What is an oxford comma anyway?

To serif or to sans serif, that is the question.

You need a resume coach

The tradition of submitting information about yourself to potential employers has tortured job seekers for more than 500 years. What once started as an introduction to potential customers has evolved into an art form over the centuries.

The impending death of the resume was first predicted in 1986, but here we are 30 years later and the resume, a term coined by its inventor, Leonardo Da Vinci, is very much alive and well.

Although there are other ways to introduce yourself to potential employers – video, social media and portfolios – the resume is the expected method of summarizing why you should get the job.

 

Don't think of writing a resume as a chore, but as a sales pitch.

Just like companies that spend oodles of money and time positioning themselves as your go-to brand for fill-in-the-blank, you should be marketing yourself as an expert in your field.

Here’s what recruiters say will put your resume in the reject pile. I see these mistakes all of the time. You can give yourself a competitive advantage by simply avoiding these traps.

1. No name, no bueno.

84 percent of recruiters said generic addressees, i.e. dear hiring manager to who it may concern, got the resume tossed.

2. Being hateful, not grateful

57 percent of recruiters tossed a resume for no thank you note after interview.

3. They really hate generic

More than half of the recruiters axed resumes for not being customized to the job opening. Or tailored to the organization. Boo!

4. No cover letter, no love

About 45 percent of recruiters admitted to getting rid of resumes that did not include a cover letter.

5. Follow up at least once

About a third of recruiters said they dumped a candidate after he or she failed to follow up after the interview.

All of this to say: Don’t be a lazy chump.

Employers can smell the stench of cut corners from a mile away. Back in the day when resumes were only a formality, you could jot down some stuff about yourself and get a job. Not too long ago, 10-15 years, you could apply to a job and have one interview with the hiring manager and get the job. That ship has sunk.

How do I write a resume that will get a call?

Listen up. The most important thing to remember is the cold hard fact that your resume is a reflection of who you are.

If your resume uses strong, relevant language, the recruiter reads “I know what you want and I know how to get it done.” 

When you take the time to write, read, revise, read, and revise some more to make sure that there are no errors or gaps, the recruiter sees “I meticulously check my work and leave no detail to doubt.”

When the layout is easy to skim, attractive and puts your best attributes above the fold, the recruiter reads “I am organized, professional and a definite phone screen. Call me.”

On top of cramming all of the facts, stats and selling points, you also have to convey honesty, authenticity, even a little charm.  All this on one, maybe two pieces of paper.

Let’s start by dissecting your current resume. If you haven't already, signup to get your 40 Questions worksheet that will help you assess that hot mess of your resume.

 
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