From our President & CEO . . .
As an executive recruiter, I see a lot of resumes. Some are great, but many don’t represent the amazing professional behind the paper the way they could. These seven resume secrets will be helpful whether you’re looking for your first job or interviewing for the top job at your dream organization.
The secrets below will a) help present your career clearly and positively and b) save the hiring authority time in clarifying or researching information about you.
- List the organization first, then your title and include the city and state of each organization you served.
- Include months and years in your start and end dates. The hiring authority is going to ask you anyway, so you might as well start with it.
- Outline significant accomplishments in each position. Even if you are in a difficult situation, show that you figured out how to make a difference there. Keep a “brag book” for yourself, making notes of your accomplishments as they happen. When you update your resume, you will have a handy list to choose from (and examples to talk about during interviews). It’s easy to forget the “wins” over the months and years if you don’t record them. Also include awards earned and a brief explanation of what the award means. National, regional, and local awards are all important!
- Include numbers, especially if you are a fundraiser. Actual numbers, not just “50% increase in money raised.” Instead, be specific. For example, “Increased the total annual fundraising results by 50% in my first year, from $400,000 to $600,000.” Make it easy to see your results. If you are not a fundraiser, you still have things to quantify. Do you have Key Performance Indicators (KPIs)? Are you meeting them? Quantify it.
- Make it easy for the potential employer or recruiter to see how long you have been with one organization. If you held more than one job at an organization, include the total time you were at the same organization as a block. List separate positions and promotions below, breaking out the periods for those positions. This shows the hiring authority your longevity at one organization.
- Use 11-point type *or larger* and keep your entire resume to three pages maximum. (This does not include references or a cover letter, both of which will be covered in a future column.) Potential employers are interested in seeing your recent relevant experience but may not need to see all of your experience. If you have been in the same industry for 30 years, the last 15-20 years likely carries the weight of your professional experience. To save space, at the end of your resume, list only the employer, title, and location of your previous positions.
- Last and easiest: save your file as a PDF, so that your carefully crafted formatting is preserved, and does not come across email with odd page breaks or hieroglyphics due to software variances.
The beginning of the year is a great time to update your resume, even if you are not looking for a new position. You never know when we might call you with that dream job. As Louis Pasteur said, “Luck favors the prepared.”
All my best for a wonderful and blessed 2020!
Sally Bryant DeChenne
President & CEO