My wife and I recently ate at an Italian restaurant in the North End of Boston, where I had Linguine Alla Pescatore and Caprese Salad (with fried tomato). To say the food was out of this world would be an understatement. The atmosphere was authentic and boisterous, the waiter attentive.
What does fine Italian food have to do with the job search?
It’s akin to a WOW moment that you want the employer to experience when reading your professional resume. So what makes a resume professional? There are nine distinct features:
1. Tight word blocks. Shorter is definitely better when it comes to writing paragraphs and sentences. People who read a ton of resumes don’t want to read a novel. So put yourself in their shoes and make their job easier; short word blocks of no longer than three or four lines are preferred. As well, bold text serves to highlight important information.
2. Targeted Resume. Before we go any further, this is a concept that makes many job seekers cringe, yet one that is essential to embrace. Employers, recruiters, and professional resume writers all insist that your professional resume speaks to needs employer. Therefore addressing the requirements in order of priority is key in writing a professional resume.
3. LinkedIn Profile URL. Any job seeker who is in the game has a LinkedIn profile, the networking document to your targeted resume. If you have a great LinkedIn profile to match your professional resume, send prospective employers to it as a way to show her you’re a player.
4. Branding Title. This is something I don’t see too often on a resume, yet it’s what can set you apart from the average job hunter. It tells an employer who you are, e.g. job-matching title, and what you’re areas of strength are.
Content Generation | Trade Shows | Social Media | Cost Control | Profitable Exposure
5. High Impact Performance Profile. This is a section on a resume that sometimes gets overlooked in a reviewer’s rush to get to the Work History. However, if you throw something in that immediately expresses your value, such as an accomplishment statement, your Performance Profile will give your professional resume real meaning.
Example: Operations manager who has increased companies’ revenue in excess of $20,000 annually through shrewd business acumen….
6. Core Competencies. Consider the person who’s reading tons of resumes, and consider how he’s looking for the key skills for the position. Now consider how easy you’ll make his job if you have a section that lays out those skills and any additional skills that could be a tie-breaker.
7. Strong Work History. A strong work history is the main course of your dining experience. It’s what resume reviewers focus their attention on; it’s your chance to sell yourself and close the deal. All that was mentioned above is fruitless unless you tie it together. A professional resume will include a Work History that includes:
- A summary in paragraph format for each position comprising of overall duties. Its length should not exceed three or four lines, and it should explain what brought you to this position, e.g., “Hired to improve manufacturing production and communications among departments.”
- Key accomplishments in bullet format that are quantified using #’s, $’s, or %’s. A professional resume will sell you with accomplishments, whereas an average resume will comprise mainly of duties.
Wrong: Responsible for directing engineers to deliver data storage software.
Right: Directed 15 engineers to deliver—on time—data storage software, boosting sales 55% in a down economy.
Note: Your accomplishments will show employers what you’re capable of doing for them in the future if they’re related to the position (prioritizing your statements).
8. Length. The length of your work history must be relevant to employers needs today, not 25-30 years ago. Age discrimination can also be a concern, so showing 10-15 years is a safe bet. Remember, it’s your goal to get to the interview; and then you can sell yourself with your years of progressive experience.
9. Education. This section usually anchors your resume, unless it’s a strict requirement; in which case it would follow the Performance Profile. Although this section of your professional resume seems like a no-brainer, always follow these guidelines: most recent degree first, followed by prior degrees, exclude dates of graduation:
Master’s of Arts, Communications with a Concentration in Marketing
University of Boston, Boston, MA.
Bachelor’s of Arts, English.
Bentley University, Waltham, MA
As my wife and I left the Italian restaurant in the North End of Boston, I commented on the quality of the food, the service, and the atmosphere. It was professionally done we both agreed. Make your resume a professional one that gives the reader a WOW moment.
Thanks HelveticaFanatic for the photo via Flickr