When we say give your resume a makeover, we don’t mean changing your font colors or moving text around. It’s time to take a look at your content. Are you saying what employers really want to hear?
Hiring managers have piles of resumes to review, so you have to grab them with the first few lines of your resume. A great place to do that is the profile section. Here are a few real-life examples—with some details omitted or generalized for privacy reasons—of how job seekers changed up their resumes and got noticed in a competitive market.
“Able to work constructively across all levels and brings stakeholders together to embed sustainability practices and to create unique solutions within business structure and processes. Is focused on enabling organizations to reap the benefits of operating sustainability. Industry exposure includes a mix of professional associations, global not for profits and industry-specific NGOs focused on environmental sustainability.”
It’s long and a little dull, right? Check out the “after” version, which included this separate statement above the previous paragraph:
“A decisive and energetic leader with deep expertise in the creation of sustainability/CSR strategies. Achieves traction, and has the grit to take these through to completion. Outcome driven and able to draw threads through complex environments in order to deliver change.”
Strong adjectives, action verbs and some words that you don’t usually see on cookie-cutter resumes are sure to draw an interviewer’s eye in this example.
“A highly experienced senior executive in the banking industry. A results driven innovator with a proven track record of process re-engineering, portfolio management and Basel II solutions. Well known within the portfolio analytics community with access to a large network for establishing new departments and liaising with local and overseas banks and regulators. An individual that brings a unique combination of experience, strong technical skills and state-of-the-art operational efficiency.”
Check out what a difference it makes when you change the first sentence to “A pragmatic senior banking industry executive who creates and delivers efficient process without compromising quality and service standards.”
Changing ‘well known’ to ‘recognized authority’ and ‘unique combination’ to ‘rare combination’ helped to avoid words that are overused on resumes.
It can be challenging to rev up your profile like this. You don’t want to overdo it and make it seem like you’re exaggerating your claims, but it’s well worth the time and effort to choose some stronger, more effective language. You can probably find the key phrases you need somewhere in the rest of your profile, possibly hidden away in some achievement statements.