Advertising
Advertising

24 Practical Tips To Make Your Résumé Perfect

24 Practical Tips To Make Your Résumé Perfect

This worksheet was designed by an attorney* to serve as a guide toward the design, structure, content, and delivery of a modern résumé. To enhance your learning experience, please read the worksheet in its entirety prior to applying these instructions to your own résumé and/or life experience (henceforth, referred to simply as, “Résumé”).

1. Start with a Decent Template

Here are a few sites to download résumé templates:

Microsoft: http://office.microsoft.com/en-us/templates/results.aspx?ctags=CT010144894

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1aIYgnE

Word and PDF: http://www.resumetemplates.com/

Resume.pdf.lifehack.versabilityjpg
    No Johns were hurt in the making of this Lifehack…

     

    Advertising

    2. Trust the Template

    They were designed by professionals, and professionals like working with other professionals who listen to them…so, no…no, we’re not interested in your ideas at this time.

    3. Stick to a One-Page Résumé

    McDonald’s explains what they do in 400 characters and a pic (and we all have access to the same tool, so there’s no excuse).

    4. Include Your Most Recent GPA

    If we’re looking for a Master’s Degree, nobody cares about your high school GPA, your kindergarten grades, or what electives you chose.

    5. List Your Latest Work First

    Your McDonald’s Shift Leader position looks less and less impressive as you age, and your résumé should reflect that you’ve resumed your life since then. Speaking of which…

    6. Exaggerate the Best Way Anyone Ever Has…Like, Ever

    We all started at the bottom, so we’ve likely worked your position and know what it takes. Your résumé tells me what you learned about a situation I’ve already been through. Also, *I’m not actually a lawyer, but I’ve worked with plenty.

    7. Sugarcoat Responsibly

    Focus on your battles, and the way you recovered from losses. If you think you’re the first idiot who thought they were perfect, you’re destined to fail. Nobody will trust in your life…much less you in their lives.

    Advertising

    8. Take Advantage of Section Headings

    Do you see how simple this article looks? I sound professional with these tips (despite my snide remarks) because I’m following an easy-to-read format that slowly entices you to pay more attention. You didn’t think you’d actually learn something from this, did you?

    9. Move Your References to a Separate Document

    Mention that you have references, but don’t bother listing them. We’re more interested in what you know than who because the people you know aren’t as important as you think they are.

    10. Lead with Active Verbs

    The first word of every point you make should be some type of action you really want to drill into the reader’s head.

    11. Utilize Every Word

    Every keystroke matters; it shows your attention to detail, your craft – it shows what you’re capable of.

    12. Doing What You Say You Do

    With so little space, it’s vital to fit as many points in there as possible.

    13. Link to Your Portfolio

    If you send it digitally, the links will prove what you’re saying. If you’re printing your résumé on paper, it’ll at least provide intuitive access to your own portfolio.

    Advertising

    14. Format as a PDF Unless Otherwise Told

    Even the file format you use makes an impression on people. Every keystroke counts (including Enter when ending the file); never forget that.

    15. Use a Dark Blue Font

    It’s the absolute only color you should ever use in a résumé. Look at the President’s State of the Union. What color suit is worn most often by the politicians in the room whose one job is to appeal to everyone? You better learn about it.

    16. Follow Conventions, but Don’t Sweat Them

    Grammar Nazis are notorious for resuming their rigid regime of résumé regimens they believe everyone should follow. Understand that miner mistakes aren’t often noticed since they’re buried in solid structures and foundations. (See, did you even notice that?)

    17. Match Your Résumé to Your LinkedIn Profile

    [Grabs you by the ears and screams] Repeat after me: “My LinkedIn profile is my résumé, and my résumé is my LinkedIn profile.” It’s for better or worse at this point, folks, because we’re past the honeymoon phase with this company.

    18. Update Your Résumé Every Six Months

    You should resume updating your résumé, or you’ll forget important jobs you’ve done. Instead of showing a glimpse into your life, it’ll be a page of fluff.

    19. Splurge on Paper

    Men tend to tie their level of professionalism to what’s around their neck, but your best impression lies in the paper stock quality of your résumé. The fancier the paper, the less likely someone will be to throw it away without looking at it. It’s a psychological thing; just trust me on this.

    Advertising

    20. Send It Out

    You could have the best résumé in the world, but you’ll never get a job with it sitting on your computer (unless maybe your portfolio includes hacking).

    21. End with Your Contact Info

    Many people focus on having their contact info on the header. You want your name and location at the top, but your contact info at the bottom, along with your name and the closer.

    22. Quote Statistics

    Recent studies have shown that 73% of prospective employers love statistics in résumés; it’s the easiest way to relay to them that there are quantifiable results in your words. Don’t worry too much about the accuracy of your statistics – 67% of reference transactions are practically automated at this point, so I’m compelled to once again say grades don’t matter.

    23. Paint by Numbers

    The more numbers you use, the better. It helps people put an organizational order to the points you’re making much more easily than bullet points. Look at how the info is arranged when you input it on job search sites.

    24. Inspire the Hire

    You want to close everything you write with a call to order; you want your résumé to say, “This is who I am. Trust me. Choose me. Pay me. Because I get the job done.” And leave them salivating for more.

    You may resume your regular regimen.

    Featured photo credit: SighlentJ via flickr.com

    More by this author

    7 Ways To Make Exercise Fun For Everyone How to Live Life to the Fullest Say Goodbye to a Skinny Body: How to Gain Weight Fast 24 Easy Ways To Make Money On The Internet What 500 Calories Really Looks Like in Different Foods

    Trending in Work

    1 7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success 2 The Savvy Employees Guide to Asking for a Raise 3 How to Master the Art of Stress Free Work 4 23 Things to Keep in Mind When Preparing for an Interview 5 20 Critical Skills to Add to Resume (For All Types of Jobs)

    Read Next

    Advertising
    Advertising
    Advertising

    Last Updated on December 3, 2019

    7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success

    7 Powerful Steps to Achieve Career Success

    I often hear people say, “I want to be successful but don’t know where to start” or “I’ve achieved career success yet I’m not happy.” And then I ask, “what does career success mean to you?” And many have a hard time articulating their response with much conviction.

    It’s common that people lack clarity, focus, and direction. And when you layer on thoughts and actions that are misaligned with your values, this only adds to your misdirected quest to achieve your career success.

    A word of caution. It’s going to take some time for you to think about and work on your own path for career success. You need to set aside time and be intentional about the steps you take to achieve career success. In my opinion, this step-by-step guide is apart of your life philosophy.

    1. Define Career Success for Yourself

    Pause. Give yourself time and space for self-reflection.

    What does career success mean to you?

    This is about defining your career success:

    • Not what you think you ‘should’ do
    • Not what people may think of you
    • Not adjusting to friends and family’s judgements
    • Not taking actions based on societal or community norms

    “A flower does not think of competing to the flower next to it. It just blooms” – Zen Shin

    When you strip away all your external influences and manage your inner critic, what are you left with? You need to define career success that best suits your life situation.

    There’s no fixed answer. Everyone is different. Your answer will evolve and be impacted by life events. Here are a few examples of career success:

    Advertising

    • Work-life balance
    • Opportunities for growth and advancement
    • Feeling valued that my contributions had an impact

    Now even as you reflect on the examples above, the descriptions are not specific enough. You’ve got to take it deeper:

    • What do you mean by work-life balance?
    • What do you consider to be opportunities for growth and advancement?
    • How do you like to be recognized for your work? How do you know if your contributions have had an impact?

    Let’s take a look at some potential responses to the questions above:

    • I want more time with my family, and less stress at work
    • I want increased responsibilities, to manage a team, a higher income, and the prestige of working at a certain level in the company
    • I’d like my immediate leader to send me a thank-you note or take me out for coffee to genuinely express her or his gratitude. I’ll know I’ve made an impact if I get feedback from my coworkers, leaders and other stakeholders.

    Further questions to reflect on to help narrow the focus for the above responses:

    • What are some opportunities that can help you get traction on getting more time with your family? And decrease your stress at work?
    • What’s most important for you in the next 12 months?
    • What’s the significance of receiving others’ feedback?

    Now, I’m only scratching the surface with these examples. It takes time to do the inner work and build a solid foundation.

    Start this exercise by first asking what career success means to you and then ask yourself meaningful questions to help you dig deeper.

    What types of themes emerge from your responses? What keywords or phrases keep coming up for you?

    2. Know Your Values

    Values are the principles and beliefs that guide your decisions, behaviors and actions. When you’re not aligned with your values and act in a way that conflicts with your beliefs, it’ll feel like life is a struggle.

    There are simple value exercises that can help you quickly determine your core values. This one designed by Carnegie Mellon University can help you discover your top 5 values.[1]

    Once you have your top 5 values keep them visible. Your brain needs reminders that these are your top values. Here are some ways to make them stick:

    Advertising

    • Write them on cue cards or notes and post it in your office
    • Take a picture of your values and use it as a screensaver on your phone
    • Put the words on your fridge
    • Add the words on your vision board

    Where will your value words be placed in your physical environment so that you have a constant reminder of them?

    3. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Goals

    When writing your short-term and long term life goals, use the SMART framework – Specific Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, and Time-bound. Treat this as a brainstorming exercise. Your potential and possibilities are limitless.

    How you define short-term and long-term is entirely up to you. Short-term can be 30 days, 90 days, or 6 months. Maybe long-term goals are 4 months, 1 year, or 10 years.

    Here are a few self-reflection questions to help you write your goals:[2]

    • What would you want to do today if you had the power to make it the way you want?
    • If no hurdles are in the way, what would you like to achieve?
    • If you have the freedom to do whatever you want, what would it be?
    • What type of impact do you want to have on people?
    • Who are the people you most admire? What is it about them or what they have that you’d want for your life or career?
    • What activities energize you? What’s one activity you most love?

    Remember to revisit your core values as you refine yours goals:

    • Are your goals in or out of alignment with your core values?
    • What adjustments do you need to make to your goals? Maybe some of your goals can be deleted because they no longer align with your values.
    • How attainable are your goals? Breakdown your goals into digestible pieces.
    • Do your short-term goals move you towards attaining your long-term goals?

    Get very clear and specific about your goals. Think about an archer – a person who shoots with a bow and arrows at a target. This person is laser focused on the target – the center of the bullseye. The target is your goal.

    By focusing on one goal at a time and having that goal visible, you can behave and act in ways that will move you closer to your goal.

    4. Determine Your Top Talents

    What did you love doing as a kid? What made these moments fun? What did you have a knack for? What did you most cherish about these times? What are the common themes?

    What work feels effortless? What work do you do that doesn’t seem like work? Think about work you can lose track of time doing and you don’t even feel tired of it.[3]

    Advertising

    What are your desires? Try it out. Experiment. Take action and start. How can you incorporate more of this type of work into your daily life?

    What themes emerge from your responses? How do your responses compare to your responses from the values exercise and your goals?

    What do you notice?

    5. Identify ‘Feeling’ Words You Want to Experience

    Do you have tendencies to use your head or heart to make decisions?

    I have a very strong tendency to make rational, practical, and fact-based decisions using my head. It’s very rare for me to make decisions using my emotions. I was forced to learn how to make more intuitive decisions by listening to my gut when I was struggling with pivotal life decisions. I was forced to feel and listen to my inner voice to make decisions that feel most natural to me. This was very unfamiliar to me, however, it expanded my identity.

    Review this list of Feeling Words. Use the same technique you use for the values exercise to narrow down how you want to feel.

    Keep these words visible too!

    Review your responses. What do you observe? What insights do you gain from these responses and those in the above steps?

    6. Be Willing to Sit with Discomfort

    Make career decisions aligned with your values, goals, talents and feelings. This is not for the faint hearted. It takes real work, courage and willingness to cut out the noise around you. You’ll need to sit with discomfort for a bit until you build up your muscle to hit the targets you want.

    Advertising

    Surround yourself with a supportive network to help you through these times.

    “These pains you feel are messengers. Listen to them” – Rumi

    7. Manage Your Own Career

    Not to be cynical, but no one can make you happy but yourself. If you don’t take control of your career and manage it like your own business – no one will.

    Discern between things that you can control and what you can’t control. For example, you may not be able to control who gets a promotion. However, you can control how you react to it and what you’ve learned about yourself in that situation.

    Summing Up

    For many who have gone through a career change or been impacted by life events, these steps may seem very basic. However, it’s sometimes the basics that we forget to do. The simple things and moments can edge us closer to our larger vision for ourselves.

    Staying present and appreciating what you have today can sometimes help you achieve your long-term goals. For example, if you’re always talking about not having enough time and wanting work-life balance, think about what was good in your work day? Maybe you took a walk outside with your co-workers. This could be a small step to help you reframe how you can attain work-life balance.

    Remember to take time for yourself. Hit pause, notice, observe and reflect to achieve career success by getting deliberate and intentional:

    1. Define Career Success for Yourself
    2. Know Your Values
    3. Define Your Short-Term and Long-Term Life and Goals
    4. Determine Your Top Talents
    5. Identify ‘Feeling’ Words You Want to Experience
    6. Be Willing to sit with Discomfort
    7. Manage Your Own Career

    “When you stop chasing the wrong things you give the right things a chance to catch you.” – Lolly Daskal

    Good luck and best wishes always!

    More Tips on Advancing Your Career

    Featured photo credit: rawpixel via unsplash.com

    Reference

    Read Next