Since starting The Ameri Brit Mom Writing and Editing Services, I have created and worked with clients on building resumes more than any other project. The joy that I get from helping my clients sell themselves to potential employers is unlike anything I’ve experienced as a writer. Finding ways to market yourself on a single sheet of paper while also following industry standards can be overwhelming.
So, after a summer of working with countless clients on doing just that, I wanted to share some of the tips I’ve compiled from those most successful at achieving their employment goals.
Five Tips for Building Your Resume
1. Design Matters
When you set out to begin the process, you want to use a layout that catches the eye of the gate keepers while also highlighting your strengths. You have one page to get noticed so the design element is where you pull out all of your tricks. This document should still be easy to read and scan from the employer’s perspective, but finding 1-2 small ways of standing out can go a long way. I often ask my clients to consider headshots, color schemes, fonts, and section titles.
If you work with me on your resume, I have templates to choose from that can be customized to fit your needs. Most clients find success in subtle color use, but consider the employment you are seeking and what is most appropriate. For example, if you are applying to a local school district it may be worth adding hints of the school’s colors in your resume. Not only does it stand out against a stack of simple, black and white documents, but it also shows that you have done the research on that district.
2. Pull Language from Job Description
If there is a specific job that you have in mind, I recommend using language from the job posting to your advantage. When you read through the qualifications, what words stand out to you? How can you utilize their work in writing the description to strengthen your own presentation of skills?
When I am working with a client, I tend to ask them for 2-3 things from the job description that resonate with them or could be used to describe themselves as an employee. Those terms become the focus points of selling the client. I make sure that direct language from the description is used to prove the strength of the candidate.
3. Concise Bullet Points
The biggest mistake that I see in writing resumes is verbosity. This is when we overexplain a point or qualifier. Most clients will send me older resumes to use as a base and this is where I see this mistake most often.
Social Media has radically changed writing across all genres. People have less patience and stamina for reading. We like to see the main point quickly so we can make a judgement and move on. Even five years ago, the standard for resumes called for as much description as possible, but in 2022, employers are not reading long winded descriptions.
This is where I find myself working most with clients. We work to emphasize skills and experiences in as little words as possible. To do this, verb choice and adjectives are extremely important.
4. Master the Present/Past tense Verbs
Not to be that English teacher, but verb tense is everything. Not only do you want to use the correct tense based on current and past employments, but you also want to make sure that you remain consistent in verb usage. In your objective section, you want to use future or infinitive forms. When describing current employment, stick to present tense. Anything in the past needs to stay in the past (tense).
5. You Can’t Show It All
As I stated before, employers do not have the patience or stamina to review your entire work history on the page. Save some points of interest for the interview. Your resume should communicate why you want to work for them. It should fit on ONE page. That is nearly impossible to do if you try to include an objective, education, qualifications, previous experience, relevent skills, personal skills, professional contacts, etc.
With my clients, we look at what is most important for the employer to know up front. Maybe you lack the education of other candidates, but your current skill set is perfect for the role. We would choose to utilize your strengths on the page and incorporate the most appealing parts of yourself as an employee.
When to Rebuild Your Resume?
Don’t wait until the perfect job opens up to rebuild your resume. In a competitive market, timing is everything. You can have an edge over the competition when you have your resume ready to submit at a moment’s notice. Even if you don’t plan to change careers anytime soon, it is still a great practice to update your resume regularly.
On average, you can expect a week turnaround time if you work with The Ameri Brit Mom Writing and Editing Services. Each client is an individual and I like to take time to learn about you and your goals so that I can help you design the most helpful document for achieving your aspirations.
“I was very pleased with my resume. It was completed quickly and I’m happy to say I GOT THE JOB!”-Michelle, client
My client list is open for August and September. Please consider if it’s time to dust off that old, outdated document. Can I help you improve how you market yourself? Can we work together to create the perfect representation of you for a future employer?
The Ameri Brit Mom