Because I work with clients at all levels and from all industries, I have a distinct vantage point. When I write a resume, I aim to make my client stand out—not blend in. If you’re still using 10-point Times New Roman type, then you surely need to expand your repertoire! Don’t be too creative, though. Use a typestyle, in readable size, that is common to both Mac and PC platforms (Arial, Cambria, Calibri, Tahoma and Book Antiqua are just a few).
Understand that the most important thing your resume must convey is VALUE. How do you deliver value for your employer? If you’re focusing entirely on what you do, then you’re missing the point.
Here are the essentials for multiple career levels:
Entry Level: If you have minimal work experience, what did you do that shows you are disciplined, that you have a strong work ethic and can be trusted? Did you lead anything? Train anyone? Do something that requires tact, diplomacy and/or discretion? Work in a fast-paced, demanding customer service environment?
Professional: What problems have you solved and what challenges have you overcome? Have you increased efficiency? Worked cross-functionally on a major project? Learned something that you later trained others in? Become a subject matter expert that your teammates rely on? Researched a major purchase or saved a critical client relationship?
Manager: Have you created a teamwork culture? Fostered employee engagement? Improved a process? Implemented a new system or developed anyone for promotion? Delivered a complex project on time and on budget? How do you manage the people you supervise and if the employees that report to you were asked about your management style, would you receive favorable performance reviews? Why or why not?
Executive: If you have remarkable achievements, you should also be providing a brief explanation of what you did to bring them to fruition. What are you contributing to your company’s strategic planning efforts? What change management initiatives have you spearheaded and accomplished and what was the value to the business? Are you the one who articulates the vision . . . or the one who executes (few leaders do both well). What are you doing to aid succession planning? How have you changed how business is done, and what is your legacy?