Resume Writing…Art or Angst?

what not to put on resume

Resume writing.

I happen to think it’s an art form but most people rate the joy of writing or revising their resume right up there the prospect of having to endure a root canal sans anesthesia.  Whatevs.

I can understand the reason behind the angst, though.  There isn’t just one way to do it and that can be an overwhelming buzz kill before you even type your name on the top of the blank screen.

So how do you blow past the buzz kill to realize a finished product?

One way is to think about the big picture points you need to address before you begin.

Focus your resume.  You may have many skills and experienced many jobs. They don’t all necessarily belong on your resume. Keep the content focused on the job you are trying to land with this version of your resume.

Explain yourself.  Employers and HR specialists aren’t mind readers. Spell out your qualifications. Job titles and job descriptions don’t always match. Quantify your accomplishments. Don’t just repeat your job description. Show how you made that job your own superstar.

Update your existing resume for a new job opportunity.  If you’re not going to update it, why even apply for the job? The end result will probably be the same. No one likes to revise his or her resume. Don’t be a slacker. Make the effort to update.

Give yourself credit due.  Writing about our accomplishments and credentials doesn’t come easy to everyone.  To some of us, it can almost feel like an uncomfortable display of narcissism. If that’s you, try to get over any self-consciousness you have about it now unless you secretly just don’t want to get the job. If you don’t make yourself shine, don’t expect anyone else to do so.

Don’t give yourself undue credit. There is a difference between making your skills shine and making them emanate a radioactive glow. To be clear, it’s not all right to exaggerate your credentials, employment dates, former job titles or technical skills.  It will eventually come back to haunt you. Don’t take my word for it.  There are plenty of high-powered examples to prove my point including the recent resume scandals of Leslie Cohen Berlowitz, Scott Thompson, and Annie Dookhan.


Categories: Resume focus

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