Your resume can be a very effective marketing tool that can either open up doors or close doors. It is for this reason that you need to treat your resume as a living organism that can be adapted or changed to meet the needs of your target audience. Naturally, you will always present your experience and credentials with 100% accuracy and integrity, but you also need to think about HOW you present your experience and WHO is actually reading your resume?
You should always gain insight into each position before you pursue it and consult with a knowledgeable recruiter to be able to identify what your potential future employer needs to learn about you to generate interest in your candidacy. This critical due diligence should give an idea of the questions you will need to answer in your resume. In general, here are some ideas and tips to think about in developing your resume content:
Key Questions to Ask Yourself
- What experience, skills, aptitudes, or traits do you have, or think you might have, that could be of some use to some employer?
- What skills have you developed, at least to some degree, that you have never used at work?
- Do others, at work or elsewhere, come to you for any particular kind of help? What kind?
- Have you ever published an article, report, or anything, even as a volunteer, even in your company professional association newsletter?
- Have you ever given a talk, speech, or presentation, or provided training to anyone at work or elsewhere? Give the specifics.
- What planning or analytical tools are you familiar with?
- How many people did you supervise? Orient? Hire? Train?
- How large a budget did you manage?
- Who do you report to?
- What was the highest level in the company that you reported to or communicated with directly?
- Mediate between groups or individuals? Resolve any conflicts? Serve as mentor to anyone?
- Did you do, or participate in, strategic planning?
- Did you set or evaluate or participate in the setting or evaluation of policy?
- Did you communicate with customers? How?
- What was your function on the team, or your contribution to winning? Your team’s percentage of wins?
- Design or manage any processes, systems, or projects?
- Organize any events, conferences, meetings? How many?
- Did you gain experience in any special use software?
- Analytical or evaluative procedures?
Accomplishments & Awards
- How much reduction in costs or increase in profits did you contribute to?
- What did you do?
- Did you add any smoothness, quality, or economy of operation that noticeably improved the way things were before you assumed responsibility?
- Any concrete or specific signs of the gain you achieved?
- Did you propose, suggest, or initiate any programs, changes, or improvements that were implemented at least partly because of your initiative?
- What positive results occurred?
- What did you do as a volunteer, beyond the regular duties of your position?
- Whether you were paid for it or not, what were you particularly good at that made a difference in how the office (job, project, assignment) progressed from day to day?
- Were you praised, recognized, or given a pat on the back for anything – a particular assignment, a method of working, a trait of character? How? By whom?
- Were you promoted ahead of schedule?
- Selected for any special responsibilities or programs?