Lesson 2: Rethink Your Resume

You’ve crafted your story and checked out how others tell theirs. Now it’s time to look at your resume.

Even if you’re not looking for work, it’s always a great idea to have an updated resume on hand. You never know when a dream opportunity is going to come your way. Since you’re about to start networking like a pro, it’s especially important to have a resume that people will be proud to pass along.

I know this is a huge area of anxiety for many people. There are thousands of services and consultants who’ll help you with resume writing and formatting, but what’s their secret? Aren’t resumes just a list of what you’ve done, formatted nicely? In short…nope. They’re much more than that.

It’s all about the story.

Resumes are about telling a story that make it obvious to recruiters and hiring managers where you’re going with your career. A simple list of your job titles and responsibilities isn’t enough to connect the dots.

If you’re just starting out or are shifting careers, a candidate statement is a nice way to draw a line between your past experience to future goals. Just be sure to keep it future-oriented, and not a summary of your resume content.

For every role you include on your resume, you want to highlight accomplishments that will prepare you for your next career move. What did you do that stood out from the crowd? How did you add value? If you can quantify it, all the better.

Details matter.

You resume also sends subtle signals about your professionalism — things like formatting, typos, and grammar do matter. Always, always proofread.

Luckily there are a ton of great resume templates available for free online. Use them, and resist the urge to cheat on the margins! Good design (with plenty of white space) will make your resume readable, and help you stand out from the crowd.

Today’s Assignment

  1. Check out this blog post to learn what to include and what to leave behind so that your resume tells a fantastic story.
  2. Choose a great resume template (if you haven’t got one already). Always remember to PDF it before you send!
  3. Edit your resume. Take out anything that doesn’t support the story you’re telling (leave your high school, and possibly college, jobs behind).
  4. Take out lists of responsibilities. Replace them with your achievements. Use active words (here’s a handy list to help you).

Extra Credit: Share your resume with somebody you trust and get feedback. If you’re feeling adventurous, you can even ask for help on BrightCrowd.


Up Next: What’s a resume without a super-compelling cover letter to go with it? I’ll get you started with some awesome examples and a template that’ll work wonders.