Writing a Résumé Should Hurt

Writing a Résumé Should Hurt

May 10, 2012 The Job Hunt

A résumé enables you to put your best foot forward so be painfully thoughtful about its content. It must showcase only your MOST impressive accomplishments and selecting those requires four things: 1) discipline, 2) a delete button, 3) a job description, and 4) my secret sauce when the stakes are highest. 

Getting started begins by surrounding yourself with all of your accomplishments. Pull up performance evaluations, customer testimonials, work emails, industry awards, transcripts, presentations, reports, etc.  You should highlight, a) work that has been praised, b) assignments you love talking about, c) and/or projects that “smell” like what you’d be asked to do in your desired role.  Once you’ve completed this exercise then you should transcribe these instances, compartmentalize them under appropriate sections (i.e. summary, experience, academic, additional data), and then you’ll likely end up with way more than a one page résumé.

This is where a delete button and a job description are helpful.   Firstly, keep the accomplishments that showcase the skills your desired job requires, secondly throw out the ones that are not accompanied by results you garnered, and thirdly prioritize stories you think would most impress your reader(s).  

Then to streamline your document convert each accomplishment to a 1-2 line bulleted statement.  The following points are crucial components of each bullet: descriptive action verbs to launch each bullet describing your task, the skills you leveraged to complete that task and then how you benefited an individual, team, or the business.  Continue this process until you are within one page at a minimum 10.5 font.

At this point, you should have a workable résumé with stellar bullet points. This is where my secret sauce comes to play. Go to LinkedIn, find someone who had the job you’d like to have and see how your résumé stacks up to their résumé then tweak your own.  My secret sauce (it’s not so secret anymore) helped James Smith, a proud military veteran who was also a proven marketing student and practitioner, beat over 9,500+ entrants in the Macy’s 2011 Marketer of the Year Award Program.  Macy’s 2010 winners were his blueprint.  By considering the accomplishments that prior winners featured via their LinkedIn profiles James was able to prioritize his most impressive and relevant accomplishments which met or exceeded his predecessors’ greatest hits.

PS: If you find this excerpt helpful then don’t be shy about it! Also, feel free to provide your own tips. My advice comes from years of having written effective résumés.

About the author

Melissa Llarena: is the CEO and career coach behind Career Outcomes Matter. Her craft is coaching top executives on how to dissect and deliver the perfect job interview. Her client base includes US-based as well as international business leaders with 15-plus years of experience who are undeniably really good at what they do yet simply want a strategic partner who can quickly fully understand their tangible and intangible contributions to effectively scale up their interviewing skills for the toughest interviews. Click to gain instant access to her 20-page interview preparation kit to gain an edge then schedule a phone call to see how she’d leverage her most powerful insights based on your unique situation -- all in time for your next interview.