Let me tell you about a past client of mine, Mandy. She had an extensive work history, full of diverse experience with her skills and abilities ranging across multiple industry and careers filling up over 3 pages on her resume. While Mandy’s experience really ranged from admin work to sales, marketing, and communications, she was interested in moving into a Senior Marketing position. She was struggling to get interviews and when she did, she was labeled as a “Jill of all trades”. Mandy was baffled at why she couldn’t get the job she wanted, she had such a great background and was more than capable of doing the job.
When I initially sat down with Mandy, she expressed this to me. I took one look at her resume and said, “Mandy, your marketing skills are being buried by everything else! I have no idea what you want to do. You have to focus this resume in and cut at least a page of content.” Immediately Mandy argued, saying that there was no way that she could cut things from her resume, she needed everything that was on it. I then showed Mandy that by only including the skills, abilities, and accomplishments that were directly related to her new target and ditching the rest really made her stand out.
Here are the 5 things to ditch (and include) in order to make your resume shine:
Tip #1: Ditch the objective statement
Originally, the objective statement was created to show potential employers your qualifications and knowledge for the job. It was once seen as a strategic way to stand out from the crowd, but now it is just seen as outdated and overused.
What should you include instead? Create a resume title. A resume title is a simple way to demonstrate to the recruiter or hiring manager two very important things: A) You are a perfect fit for this job (it says it right there in the title)! And B) This is the job you want. Creating the focused perception is going to show the recruiter and hiring manager that you are really the perfect person for this role.
Tip #2: Ditch the outdated and unrelated skills & experiences
I’ve seen it time and time again. A resume chalked full of skills that have no relevance to the job they are applying for. Or ones that have jobs listed, like the time you worked at Starbucks that one summer, that really have no bearing on the job you are applying for. Think about this, will that recruiter or hiring manager really care that you can make the best Carmel Macchiato this side of town? No. If it doesn’t translate to the job you are applying for, ditch it!
What should you include instead? Read the job description carefully and take inventory of the hard, soft, and technical skills and experiences that relate to that specific job. Think about what you did on a daily basis that could demonstrate your ability to do the job or accomplishments that show you will go above and beyond for your employer.
Tip #3: Ditch outdated trainings, expired certifications, or incomplete degrees.
Anyone who knows me, knows how important education is to me. I am the first one to promote bettering yourself through learning. BUT if you are that person who loves to get degrees and certifications for the sole purpose of learning and they have nothing to do with your career, don’t put them on your resume. It is going to make you appear unfocused and with higher level degrees, too expensive to hire. Same with expired certifications or outdated trainings.
What to include instead? Include completed bachelor’s degrees (these are okay if they are not directly related, but only include one if you have multiple) a master’s (if relevant), and ACTIVE certifications that support your focused target. Anything that can strengthen your cause of why you are the right person for this role, include it!
Tip #4: Ditch listing every detail of every job
Your resume is meant to be a snapshot of your work history, highlighting your most relevant skills and accomplishments. If what you are talking about is not representing who you want to be seen as, don’t talk about it. Just because you did that task at some point, does not mean It needs to be shared.
What to do instead? Summarize your daily duties in 2-3 sentences, focusing on the most relevant aspects. Include 3-4 bullets of your best accomplishments (preferably related to the job) and be sure to show what your action was and what was the result.
Tip #5: Ditch the ‘References Available Upon Request’
It is already implied that you have professional references who can speak to your character and work ability so there is no need to state it on your resume. This is an extremely overused phrase and needs to be ditched!
What to do instead: Have your 3-5 references readily available. Once this information is requested, you can contact your references to give them a heads up and forward the best references to the requestor. This will show thought and preparation to the hiring manager.
You might have 10-15 seconds, at most, for a hiring manager to read your resume so you want to be sure that you are tracing the line of where you want to be and translating and presenting those relevant details on your resume.
Once I helped Mandy sort through her history to identify the most relevant skills, experience, and accomplishments, we were able to construct a condensed and improved resume, she was able to land several interviews.
That is the power of a targeted resume.