Perhaps it’s been awhile since you’ve written a resume or maybe you’re writing your resume for the very first time; in either situation it is easy to become overwhelmed with the abundance of information that is available. There are countless websites, books and professionals dedicated to the art of resume writing and while the object of each is to provide you with the references you need to create your resume, more often than not they will leave you feeling buried under the excess of information they offer. Add to that the fact that resume standards and expectations are constantly transforming to meet the changes in the way job searches are conducted.
If the thought of writing your resume has you feeling a bit lost then read on for a 3 zone approach to your resume. Your resume should have three distinct zones; you may have more depending on your career or industry, but everyone should have AT THE LEAST the following three.
RESUME ZONE 1 – THE HARD SELL
The top half to third of the first page of your resume should be focused on your unique brand. Basically, what you’re selling and why they should be buying. This zone should include the following: a hard hitting title that leaves no question as to what position you are applying for, a personal resume branding statement that captures your unique value, a summary paragraph that presents your strengths and how you will apply them and a skills section that integrates keywords specific to the position. This is not the time to be modest or humble, sell your skills like you’re the hottest thing on the market. They need you – make them believe it!
RESUME ZONE 2 – THE MEAT
Next up is your career history; this is where you present your past employment and accomplishments. It’s true that this essential component of your resume does not get the attention it deserves from hiring managers so you need to make it count. Task based bullets listing your responsibilities are out and have been for a long time. Resumes today use accomplishment based bullets to project your value. You don’t just want to say: Completed XYZ. You want to say: Saved a boatload of $$$ by completing XYZ. Present your accomplishment first and follow it up with how you did it. Don’t be afraid to bold or underline the accomplishment to draw attention to it.
RESUME ZONE 3 – THE INTELLIGENCE
This is the area on your resume commonly referred to as Education or Professional Development. When writing your resume you need to include any degrees, special training and certifications. Employers want to know how you know what you know. They also like to see that you are growing as a professional by continuing your education or training; this shows you are invested in your career and stay on top of industry changes. A subsection of Zone 3 could include any professional memberships or association that you belong to. This also shows your commitment to your field and helps to distinguish you as an industry resource.
Once you have the zones completed you can add in any supplemental information specific to your career and situation. By focusing on these three resume zones you can approach it in pieces rather than as a whole and reduce your resume writing frustration.
by Megan Koehler