Blow off the dust and shine the torch in there once again. Be honest with yourself. What does your resume look like?
As frequently as I can, I like to laze around on the internet and search for good out-of-the-way stuff to read – stuff that has nothing to do with my usual interests, but interesting enough that I can learn something new.
At the very least, I’m entertained.
This one time, I found an article about how people unintentionally make their resumes boring and, by extension, hard to read. That piqued my interest – even though I haven’t had a resume for almost eight years now. Though I didn’t know it at the time, I wanted to know what a boring resume reads like. And boy, did I find out.
The first thing that struck my attention was the idea that it is possible to put all your relevant information into a one-page Word document. This was surprising to me – someone who would type up to six pages of qualifications if I was really trying hard to write only the essentials. Why would I want to squash all those “impressive” qualifications into one page for?
But I kept reading. I would like to share with you some of what I learned on that day.
First of all, at some point in your life you were in a secondary or high school. Fine. All that is well and good, but why do you feel a need to include that in your resume? Anyone who wants to employ a graduate knows that a graduate doesn’t suddenly jump into the university. There’s a process. Adding secondary school information to your resume is redundant, unless specifically required.
Something equally important – not many people want to know what you did ten years ago. Frankly, nobody cares. They’re interested in what you’re up to now, how you’ve improved and developed yourself. They would like to know just how ambitious you are. If you have worked in several companies and capacities, then try this: instead of writing the first place you worked in, why don’t you write the best places you’ve worked in or in capacities you worked and what you gained working in such places?
Self-improvement should be constantly high on our priority list. I mean, what is the point if we do not do better than we did yesterday? That leads to stagnation. Anything not growing is dead. Professionals ought to have constant targets, targets that look good on a resume, that let employers know you’re a valuable asset. Targets and wish lists – similar but not quite same. However, they both give the employer a good idea about your ambitions and potentials.
A wish list could have traveling, learning a new language, learning to cook – anything – as items. As long as it’s something that shows you’re a human being who is on the lookout for improvement. Long after reading about boring resumes online, I served on a recruitment panel for a company and I had to look through hundreds of resumes. Most were just boring and bland. I kept wondering if the applicants thought robots were reviewing their qualifications.
Put “colour” in your resume. Make it sound alive, excited and vibrant. Sounding like a fossil in today’s business clime will not do you any good – you or anyone who wants to employ you. I’m not asking you to go crazy. Some industries are quite conservative and want people to know that right from the go and from the first contact with any of their employees. But you’re a living, breathing human who has likes and dislikes, dreams, goals, aspirations and passions. Let your resume reflect that, even if in the most minute way.
Everybody should have the opportunity to work in a creative environment – even if it’s just for a week of their lives. You should see the kind of stuff creatives do when putting together their resumes or portfolios. Don’t even get me started on visual artists/art directors. Some of that stuff will blow you away literally.
Spice up your resume. If you need inspiration, Google “exciting resumes/portfolios” or just visit Behance and look through some pretty amazing art. If you come away from there without an idea of how to improve your resume, give me a call.
I’m always in the market for extra cash.