Your resume is a marketing document—it markets you. You want hiring managers and recruiters to come away from your resume feeling positive about you as a candidate and potential employee. Here are six ways you can help ensure that:
- Remove negative facts about your career path. Your future employee does not need to know that you had personality conflicts, problems meeting sales or other goals, a difficult boss, or health issues.
- Remove any information that ranks you below other candidates. For example, if you are a recent college graduate and barely passed; if you ranked in the bottom half of your sales team; if you failed to get a promotion that you should have received—do not share that information.
- Do not compare your achievements to anyone else’s. Maybe everyone in your office became “employee of the month” at some point; your award is still your achievement. Maybe President’s Club status was easy for you to achieve compared to your peers; that doesn’t lessen its impact on a resume.
- Do not pan your former employer with statements about “unrealistic expectations,” “confusing lines of authority,” or “unethical behavior.” You might state that you offered steady leadership through many changes in owners, for example; that you collaborated across silos; or that you finished a project that experienced multiple delays. But be very careful to watch the boundary between your achievements and your former employer’s short-comings.
- Do not focus on skills you lack as a candidate. Instead, present them as skills you are capable of learning, as you have learned so many skills in the past. This is particularly important for those in technical fields where postings may include an exhaustive (and exhausting) list of preferred skills.
- Focus on your positive accomplishments as an employee. Your resume is not your life story. You are allowed to focus on the achievements that make you proud, not the moments that led you to seek another job. Negative moments are over and done with. Hiring managers and recruiters want to hear what you are good at, not what you need to improve.