Wednesday, February 1, 2017

How To Write A Badass Resume

Resume writing is a pain in the ass. First, it's one of the few places it's acceptable to brag about yourself and most people are uncomfortable doing this. Second, if you're anything like me, you have a varied and diverse background that fits a lot of different types of jobs. If you write everything into your resume, you're either over-qualified, or your resume doesn't tell the hiring manager enough about your experience to know if you're the right candidate.

The following is a list of lessons learned throughout my career, as well as tips from a seasoned recruiter:

  1. Most resumes are scanned in less than thirty seconds. Keep your resume clean, easy to read, and less than two pages.
  2. Bold and Italic font should stand out, so use it wisely and sparingly. 
  3. Don't get heavy on the buzz words. Be specific, articulate, and error-free.
  4. Your current job should be written in present tense. All previous jobs should be written in past tense.  
  5. Most importantly, don't ever lie or exaggerate your work experience. Everything you don't know and can't do will make itself evident once you get the job. 
  6. PROOFREAD YOUR SHIT! Seriously. If you've got a mistake in your resume the hiring manager will see nothing else. We live in a world where most of our professional communication is done via e-mail. If you aren't on top of your shit in the most professional document of your career, how can a new employer trust you to do so as his employee? 
  7. Get a professional email address. Please do not put "" on your resume. 


Career Summary
Replace your "Objective" with a "Career Summary." Write a brief paragraph that highlights your work experience and accomplishments that make you the best fit for the job. It's your thirty second elevator speech to impress the hiring manager. Make it count.

Work Experience
List the company, dates of employment, and job title. Beneath each entry should be a bulleted list of your accomplishments in that job. Don't limit yourself to responsibilities and duties. This is your time to shine! Each bullet should be a quantifiable cause and effect statement. You did X, and Y occurred. Impress the hiring manager with your achievements. 

If you've got a college degree, it's not necessary to list your high school. It's implied that you have your diploma. If you're currently enrolled in college, list the degree you're pursuing and your expected graduation date. If you have attended a technical school and earned a certificate, it should go in this section. 

Skills Summary
This is a very brief highlight of your hard and soft skills. Hard skills are teachable, applicable technical skills, like using design software or Microsoft Office. Soft skills are your personal attributes, like how you interact with coworkers and other people. Keep these to one line. Again, do not lie or exaggerate here. 

This is optional. You do not have to offer references with your resume. If you have room and want to add references, there are three types of references: a supervisor, a colleague, and a personal reference. These people should be able to attest to your work experience, and your hard and soft skills. 


Just spill it all out on paper first. Don't hold back. Write it all down. Use a template and keep it simple. Next, review your resume and look for themes. Are you a project manager, a sales representative, a Java developer, or an instructor? Are you all of the above? What do you enjoy doing the most? Where are your strengths?

Your resume should reflect experience explicitly related to the job you want. If it doesn't further your work experience for that job, leave it off your resume. It doesn't matter that you played cricket for fifteen years and won multiple awards. Unless you're applying for a job to teach the sport, the hiring manager doesn't care. Take it off.


Save the original version of your resume and open up a new copy. Title this one for the specific job you're looking for right now. Start editing your resume to reflect the job. Is it a project manager role? Revise your accomplishments to show how you applied your project management skills to achieve the goal. Are you going for an instructor position? Change your bullets to show how you used your experience to teach others (co-workers, a mentor/mentee relationship, etc.). I encourage you to reflect on your work experience and see it through a hiring manager's eyes. How does this experience make you perfect for this job?

Have a desirable job posting open in front of you. Look for keywords that stand out. Many companies use software to scan resumes and look for matches before the hiring manager even sees your resume.  You could be skipped over for simply not using the right language. Integrate some of those keywords into your resume, but do not copy and paste directly from the job posting. Also, do not just throw words into your resume where they don't make sense. Make it flow seamlessly like it was there all along.

You can repeat this process for different types of jobs. Save the copies. Title them professionally and include your name somewhere in the document title. Email yourself each copy in separate emails to have them handy on the go. If you get a call from a potential hiring manager, you'll want to have quick access to your resumes to send right away.


Get your ass on LinkedIn and start connecting with people. Your LinkedIn profile should be an online resume - feel free to copy and paste your resume right into the profile. I have received my best job offers directly through this site.

Start connecting with people. Old co-workers, college professors, friends who work in the industry. Everyone you can think of with whom you have a positive relationship. Do you know someone who works for a company you'd like to apply to? Connect with them. If you know who the hiring manager is, do NOT connect with them on LinkedIn or any other social media site. That's just unprofessional and could bite you in the ass later.

Speaking of social media, clean up your Facebook and lock it down. Change your preferences so that you can't be found by plugging your name, email address, or phone number into a search engine. If your profile pic is from your bachelorette party in Vegas... don't just change it. Delete it. On your desktop, you can view your profile as someone might see it as a public page. Make sure nothing incriminating can be found. Become a model citizen on social media. You'll thank me later.

Finally, if you score an interview with somewhere you want to work, research the company. Go to Glass Door and look them up. What do other employees say about the company? What are their interview practices? How long does it typically take for them to make an offer? All of this information and more can be found on this website. They also have job postings, as well as LinkedIn, and Monster.


Your resume is your first impression:

  • Make it clean and easy to read. 
  • Don't embellish. 
  • Don't use a lot of fancy words (unless they are necessary to describe your experience). 
  • Tailor the resume to make you the best possible decision for the job you want. 
  • Keep multiple versions of your resume handy in case you get a call. 
  • Always be professional in every interaction with a potential employer. 

Good luck, my bad ass Janes! 


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