By Josh McAfee
There are plenty of times where you need an expert. Someone with more experience and deeper knowledge than you’ll ever have about something. I definitely wouldn’t attempt to rebuild an engine or perform brain surgery.
When you’re eager to find the perfect job, writing an eye catching resume may sometimes FEEL that complicated. Thankfully, it isn’t.
There are varying opinions about whether or not you should write your own resume. Plenty of professional consultants and writers would argue that you need them. Any number of websites provide services claiming to make your resume shoot to the top of the pile.
In my experience, you know you best. When people write their own resumes, it provides an opportunity for their voice to shine through instead of being lost in someone else’s words. Resume writers capture information, not who you really are and why you are valuable.
Your resume is your opportunity to write your story. Talk about the adventure that has been your career. The epic wins, the achieved goals, the sudden turns. Share numbers and data that prove your success. Outline the path you’re cultivating and allude to the type of company you’re looking to invest your time into by sharing where you are most valuable.
Aside from content, basic formatting is vital. Professional resume services sometimes go for flashy. It looks stunning on paper or a screen, but it can be problematic and frustrating to hiring agents who are used to seeing things in specific orders. Additionally, resumes often do not get looked at by human eyes to begin with. Instead, they’re sent through software that parses the information needed for recruiting and “matches” to a job before real eyeballs see them. It’s easy to confuse those systems when they can’t identify certain qualifications and information because of formatting.
To cater to that new technology, resumes should
- skip the fancy formatting
- consider what your keywords are for the specific roles you’re seeking and use them more generously
- include data and metrics of your successes and accomplishments
- use reverse chronological order
- don’t add a picture or graphics
There are some sites out there that will help in retooling resumes specifically to work well with the software algorithms. Resumeworld.com, for example, can be helpful.
Don’t forget to apply these same principles to your LinkedIn profile (with the exception of the picture). Most recruiters, hiring agents, and future co-workers will be looking you up. Ensure your LinkedIn photo is a clear headshot with good lighting and that it makes you look approachable (it can be fun, but appropriately fun). Use the banner space to highlight who you are and the About section to tell companies what you’d bring to the table.
While you’re at it, double check all your other social media profiles. Assume anything publicly tied to your name will be looked up. All accounts should reflect the person you’ve painted in your resume. Companies want to see happy, relatable, passionate, and confident candidates. Avoid bitter, frustrated, polarizing, or dramatic posts.
After you’ve crafted a resume that tells your story, developed a strong LinkedIn profile, and scrubbed social media across the board, then try Googling yourself. If what comes up isn’t flattering, then you can be assured your future potential boss will find it.
Deleting or removing bad content from public viewing where possible are the best options. Some things may not be in your control though.
Approach those by burying them in positive content that’s more in line with what you want recruiters and hiring agents to see. This can be done through public posts and articles on high profile social media and other websites. This may be a spot to engage an expert.
Of course, all of these tips can be done by someone else if you prefer. They aren’t you though and they’ll never tell your story better than you will.
When it comes to the hiring process, companies don’t want to see generic, unmemorable, or overly flashy resumes and LinkedIn profiles. They want authentic candidates that demonstrate their value, passion, and are clearly excited for the opportunity to grow.
Developing your resume now? Considering a new career move? Want to know what the companies you’re interested in are looking for? Check out our careers page or contact us today.
Josh McAfee is the Co-Founder and Managing Partner at Humans Doing. With over 26 years of recruiting and team-building experience, Josh has worked with startups, SMBs, and large companies to determine hiring needs, develop our recruiting strategies and processes, and connect top talent to fuel growth. In 2021, he became a Wall Street Journal and USA Today bestselling author with his book Measure Up: Mastering Your Career Search Like a Boss.