7 Secrets to Writing the Best Resume

7 Secrets to Writing the Best Resume

Networking is essential in today’s world, but it cannot replace the resume. An exemplary resume remains one of the best ways for job candidates to catch the eye of a hiring manager and make a great first impression.

A resume is the most effective for personal marketing and branding. Through a resume, you introduce yourself to potential employees and colleagues whom you hope to connect with by giving a brief but comprehensive look into your life.

Many people find writing a resume that lands them their dream job quite challenging. Some might have an idea but they maybe not too sure on how to execute it. These days, resumes come in many forms. A popular method is making the resume graphical. Here, the candidate makes a graphic resume in which he includes a picture of him/herself, arranges the resume into sections using color-coordinated designs and schemes which help capture the eye of the reader. This can only get you so far as there is much more to a resume that been colorful.

You may ask what make a resume great. Well here are seven ways to writing the best resume:

1. Quantify Your Impact

Quantify Your Impact

Show your accomplishments in figures, not in words. This can be easily done and not many people know how to do it. Answer questions such as: How many people attended the last event you organized? How big was your budget and how did you handle the finances? How many views did your last post on a certain campaign have? This helps gauge your recruiter on how qualified you are.

Examples:

  • Weak: managed a budget to plan a large-scale event for a company.
  • Strong: managed a thousand-dollar plan for a large-scale event for 1200 employees
  • Weak: wrote a tech article.
  • Strong: wrote eight articles on technology 107k total page views, 8k likes, and 3k tweets.

This is an important point worth consideration since we have three pillars of persuasion: ethos, pathos, and logos which were emphasized by the Greek philosopher Aristotle. The most powerful is logos, which entails persuading others using logic, evidence, and facts. You achieve this when you quantify your impact thus underscoring your accomplishments.

2. Make Your Interests Known

The last line section of a resume is where people put their interests, but they don’t actually say anything. You like movies, sports, and traveling? How original of you! Instead of sounding like any other person out there, why don’t you be more specific? Strike an emotional relationship with your recruiter that could lead to a mid-interview conversation.

Example:

  • Star wars movies, soccer, you like to travel to tropical islands, Mediterranean food.
  • Been this specific helps most because it’s a rare thing and people bond when they share commonalities which are uncommon. This also allows us to feel that we belong. By being specific, you have put yourself out there to connect with someone on a much deeper level. Your interests present an excellent bonding opportunity with your resume reader, don’t waste it.

3. Show Your Awards

Show Your Awards

So many people win awards, get accepted into selective programs and do other amazing things but they fail to convey the full breadth of these accomplishments. This is because they don’t show the competition; they don’t reveal how many other people we’re gunning for that very same spot which they ended up getting. Coming on top during a competition is something to highlight on your resume, it shows that you are the best of the best and the employer will be lucky to have you his/her team. However, this has to be communicated in a proper way.

Examples:

  • Weak: won a reward at Stan University’s tech competition
  • Strong: won $5,000 for Stan University’s tech competition(over 500 people competed)
  • Weak: accepted into The Williamson Management Program.
  • Strong: accepted into The Williamson Management Program(3% admission rate )

Social proof is one of the most powerful principles of influence, according to renowned psychologist Cialdini. By showing your accomplishments, you shine a light on how well accomplished you are in comparison to others. Many people tried, but only you succeeded. By doing this, you safeguard yourself in case the recruiter has never heard of your award or honor- which in most cases they most likely have not and won’t waste their time looking it up. This creates an opportunity for you to flaunt your accomplishments no matter how small they are, don’t be afraid to be a braggart, it’s a sign of confidence.

4. Associate Yourself With Big Brands

Instant credibility can be built by relating yourself with trusted institutions and individuals, even if you did not directly work for one. Did any of your clients include fortune 500 companies? If you worked at a well-known startup, was it backed by notable angel investors? Were you featured in any major publication? Well-known brands stand out when recruiters go through resumes, they scream experience. If a big cooperation trusted you to handle something it means you are trustworthy and this an admirable quality that high on demand amongst employers. So if you have ever worked for any recognizable company, find a way to put that on your resume.

Example:

  • Strengthened relationships with 7 strategic partners (including Coca-Cola, Emirates Airlines, and Barclays Bank) through follow-up meetings with senior leadership.
  • Collaborated with Intercontinental hotel “voted best hotel” to run a city-wide recruitment workshop for a week at four different venues.

Authority is another one of Cialdini’s principles of influence. If you don’t have it, the best way to portray authority is by clinging yourself with those who do and what is the best way to do this other than to include it on your resume.

Bonus tip: For college students, an easy way to do this is by becoming a campus ambassador for a notable company, going on internship whether paid or not.

5. Follow The Rule Of Seven

This particular rule is not known to many but it doesn’t mean it is useless. Great resumes send a consistent message. They portray a personal image. They make recruiters think,”This person has done this before. If we him on our team, he’ll be an asset.” To accomplish this, follow the Rule of Seven. Find buzzwords (and their derivatives) on the company’s website and repeat them seven times in you resume. For instance, when applying for marketing jobs, use verbs like “advertised”, “promoted” and “marketed” to describe your achievements. When submitting your resume to a startup, use verbs like “created”, “initiated” and “built”, and so forth. If you are really crafty, you don’t have to change much when tailoring to different jobs.

Example:

  • For a marketing position: “marketed an online campaign video featuring apples then CEO steve jobs(50,000 views)”
    (By the way, see how Apple was dropped in there? Everyone knows Steve jobs but Apple is another well-known brand that recruiters are attracted towards.)

The reason as to why this is important is because just like customers need to see an advertisement seven times before they take action, the same applies to recruiters and buzz words in your resume. After all, your resume is the ultimate personal marketing tool. Position yourself properly so that recruiters know you’re a perfect fit.

6. Avoid These Words

To have the best possible resume you need to avoid certain words that may harm your persona. Words such as “me”, “need”, “hard”, “chance”, “myself”, “learning”. These words may seem nothing to you but they will harm your resume so avoid them as much as you can

Example:

  • Weak: worked on a group project, did all the work by myself
  • Strong: worked on a group project where everyone contributed and participated fully.

As seen from above the word myself makes you seem like someone who will not work well in a group setting compared to the second one where you appreciate a group setting and credit all members of the group. Refrain from using such words no matter how much you want to. It would be more beneficial to focus on portraying yourself as someone who appreciates a group setting and is ready to work with others no matter the impending challenges that the project might present. Remember, no man is an island.

7. Ask An Employee For Feedback

Relationships are more vital than resumes. Before submitting your resume to any company, always reach out to an employee – whether through social media, introductions, or social occasions. If the meeting goes well, kindly request for pointers on your resume before submitting it.

This accomplishes several things. First, it’s an efficient way to customize your resume to different companies. Employees assist highly specific edits (“Hi, use this buzz word, we love that”). Furthermore, this is an effective way to internally circulate your resume without even asking. If an employee sees you as sincere, impressive and kind, there is a chance they’ll put in a word with the recruiters. Thus bringing you a step closer to your perfect job.

Example: here is a sample email you may send.

“Hey Alex,
Great chatting yesterday! I really enjoyed hearing about your experiences at [Company X] and I’m excited to apply for [positon Y].
I know you are super busy, but could you spare 2 minutes to share any feedback on my resume before I submit? Even a quick gut reaction means a lot.
Best,
Max

Requesting a fraction their time is a good starting point, especially if you have built credibility beforehand. Before you know it, they may help out in bigger ways by making brokering introductions and more. Don’t be afraid to share your resume with other.

Another way of passing on your resume to people is by creating an online version of it where it can be easily accessible with the touch of a button. This can be done by creating your own website where you highlight about yourself – the things you have done and much more. Another way is to make your resume publicly available for download through services such as Dropbox and Google docs.

Bonus Tip

One of the biggest mistakes is when people put “summer intern” on resumes. Stop that! Specify your role (example: “finance intern”). It’s another opportunity to brand yourself. Another way to accomplish the rule of seven is through your “relevant coursework” section (if you have one). When applying for a finance job, for example, list statistics and quantitative classes first this will greatly boost your resume in the eyes of your reader.

Conclusion

These are but some of the ways to make your resume more attractive. However, to significantly improve your resume, do more work! Get involved in more projects either with friends or independently. Do more internships and volunteer work. This will make your resume be more “meaty” and the result is that it makes you a great candidate as it shows your drive to work no matter whether there is a cheque at the end or not. All the best in your endeavor to write an awesome resume!