The Challenge of The Perfect Resume

As I have previously mentioned, I am looking for a new challenge.  And what is the first step to securing an appropriate challenge?  The perfect resume, of course.  Thus, lately I find myself constantly tweaking my resume.  Not that my current job responsibilities have changed any in the last two years.  However, it has been said time and time again – your resume should make you stand out.  It should convey exactly what makes you a better fit for the job than the rest of the 150 applicants.  Since by the nature of my personality I am a perfectionist, this “resume tweaking” process may never end.      

The problem that I thought I had was the presentation of my project management experience in a way that did not seem like it was a completely different job.  In the past and in my current position I work on special assignments in addition to my regular duties.  They allowed me to gain a distinctive skillset and exposed me to a new level of responsibility.  Thus, my goal is to find the most suitable way to highlight that, since it does not make much sense to lump them together with the descriptions of my regular job duties.  So far I have three different versions, but still am not perfectly satisfied.

Finally, I turned to my BFF Google for help.  As always, he was kind enough to share many tips and perspectives with me.

  1. Make it a marketing document.

Just like in the elevator speech you are selling yourself and your personal brand.  Make this sales pitch uniquely you, catchy and, thus, memorable.

  1. Tell a story.

Your resume should tell the story of your professional development in a way that makes the reader want to know more about you.  To keep them asking questions, connect your experiences and skills to paint a big picture of what you are potentially capable of.   It does not hurt to get creative.

  1. Tailor the document to the specific position that you are applying for.

For example,  my current resume has four parts – Project Management Experience, Work Experience, Education, and Related Qualifications. Originally it was constructed this way, because I was aspiring to a job in Project Management Office (PMO), where obviously my project management experience would be of at most importance.  However, since now I have been considering other functional areas, I realize that I need to present my experiences in a way that calls attention to the skills that would be invaluable in those jobs, such as my analytical skills, my effectiveness as a manager, or my learning agility.  Thus, all the tweaking.

  1. Start with a summary of top three reasons as to why you should be the one hired.

Yes, I did use my Elevator Pitch to formulate these, because after reading Chapter 4 in Sandberg’s “Lean In” book, I decided that it was more brilliant than even I realized.

  1. I have a proven track record of taking on more responsibilities and exceeding expectations.
  2. I am a quick learner with unlimited potential for success in any role.
  3. I thrive on challenge and not afraid to take risks.
  1. Focus on accomplishments rather than tasks.

This is the classic – use action verbs and provide solid examples of quantifiable results. Cliche? Or a permission to propagate your own awesomeness?  Since even my current job does not have any real metrics involved, this one is always a challenge for me personally.  Although I do craft scorecards with percentages of compliance, records management is more of a soft science. However, the value these statements could inadvertently uncover is undeniable.

Well, my resume is still very much a work in progress.  However, I hope these tips spark some thought and help you break out of the mold of the boring “black-and-white” one-pagers.  Permission to think outside the box is granted.

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