I think the one big thing that makes my heart sink fast, besides a flip chart being wheeled out in a meeting (we all die a little at that!), is being asked to provide a resume. For anything! I don’t know about you but if I have to tailor make a resume for an occasion I will research templates, look up Wiki ‘How To’ pages, research my peers and try and patch together something that reflects me and my strange and erratic journey. It usually ends up looking like some Frankensteinian creation!
The first thing I loathe is that resumes, and those demanding one to account/justify yourself, assume you have this perfect linear progression, without any gaps, in the profession you are seeking employment in. You check out the template and nothing seems to echo your background and experience. In fact they often make you feel less confident as you work on it, often to the point of giving up altogether. Putting your professional life out there in black in white can seriously attack your self-worth! However, we humans are not perfect. How many people do you know that have a life like the template resumes, carving a perfect course through a career and joining just the right organisations and memberships? We often choose the wrong path in the beginning, have to take breaks for personal reasons, fall on hard times or even have to start all over again. But these human blips can look stark in print.
So today I am going to offer my tup’ny bit opinion about how to incorporate elements that can help to make a patchy life and career history look good, and also fairly represent you. Because, you know, for some of us life happens!
My top 5 tips for a ‘perfect’ resume for we mere mortals!
- First of all, make it easy on the eye. The person reading your resume has probably seen 25 in Times New Roman size 11 that day alone! Let the recipient want to read it. I read an article where changing the font to Georgia and resizing it is a winner! Placing section dividers between categories also helps, as it allows the reader to skim and focus quickly.
- Just take a moment to think of your personal skills. Are you great at prioritising and managing your time? Can you be left alone to work on a project or are you pretty terrific at bringing the best out in other people on joint projects? Maybe you are a naturally gifted problem solver that simply thinks outside of the box! Even if you have taken time out to be a new parent, just think of the skill set you have developed since that little bundle of joy and fury landed in your lap! Yeah, the patience and organisation that takes cannot be overlooked. The same applies for time out to be a carer. Those are not gaps in your career, but valuable resources to draw upon and celebrate.
- Now think of technical and professional skills you could bring to the table. You could be a speedy and accurate typist, or simply be very knowledgeable using Microsoft Office packages. A dab hand at Photoshop or Adobe? Get them to speak for you. These are great skills to call upon.
- Situations you excel in! Have you experience organising a fundraiser, or run for nomination in a club? Pick an example where you know you were in the zone, as you can expand on it later when needed.
- Memberships and groups are a great way to promote your professional side. If you volunteer or hold membership in a group that demonstrates abilities that would be of interest, now is your time to shine. You may even run a professional or interest group on social media that has a healthy following. Perhaps you can show that you are supportive, organised and engaging through your interactions through social media platforms. It’s not all selfies and likes!