In the early days of mining workers would carry a canary into a mine shaft to check out the air quality. If dangerous gases such as methane or carbon monoxide were present, the canary would die signaling the miners that they would be next if they didn’t leave the tunnel.
In today’s job market, if you’re sending out a resume that doesn’t fly, in other words a resume that’s not getting you calls or interviews, you should take a lesson from the miners, come up for air and figure out how to improve your resume. More often than not, a bad resume will kill your job search.
The following are some tips to preen your resume to perfection as you mine for your next opportunity. First the obvious, no spelling mistakes, no lies and no liabilities. The first two don’t require additional explanation, but as far a liabilities, job hunters from seasoned executives to first-timers, often err on the side of over-inclusion.
Remember, a resume is your marketing tool, there’s no need to include negative information. You want the document to be the best representation of your background, not your life story. If there’s a liability that you have to overcome, save that for the interview and be prepared to address it then (it’s a good idea to get some coaching on the best way to field awkward situations that might have happened in your past).
That covers what not to do. What you should include in your resume is a powerful marketing statement at the top, something that really sells what you can deliver. The resume also must highlight your success stories, especially if you’re an experienced executive. Quantifiable anecdotes about your achievements grab a reader’s attention and in the right hands (an expert resume writer), they tell a compelling story about who you are as a strategist, innovator and leader. They make decision-makers want to pick up the phone and call you and they’re what make a resume fly.
Obviously, you’ll want to have your professional history included in the resume with your company, title, date and responsibilities in reverse chronological order, with the most recent position first. And of course, your education if applicable.
Just follow those tips and your resume will sing and even soar, then when you go mining for your next opportunity you’re sure to strike gold.