How To Draft A Solid Resume

These days drafting or updating a resume has become this daunting task. Even if you are a master writer there is something about looking at a blank sheet of paper and putting down your qualifications to be judged by a stranger. We get it, it’s intimidating, and because of this several businesses have opened with a sole purpose of helping people draft their resumes Harris Writing Services, LLC included!

After you untie the emotional aspect of what the document stands for, you will see that it’s really not that scary. There are plenty of templates you can find in order to get a nice clean format to organize your thoughts, and an abundance of resources to help you figure out what to say.

For simplicity sake I will be providing you with the framework of what every strong resume should have:

  1. A Profile Summary/Objective

  2. Knowledge/Skills/Abilities

  3. Education

  4. Work History

Profile Summary/Objective

This first step can sometimes feel like it’s the hardest. Really sitting down and thinking about the types of roles you want to apply for. If you can’t answer that question first my recommendation to you is FIGURE THAT OUT FIRST. There is a clear difference between people that are doing a “just” job vs. a position you are passionate about. Just jobs are things that you do; “just” to have an income, “just” to keep the lights on, “just” because you need to stay somewhere to build up tenure, “just” because you’ve done it so long and you feel you don’t have the capacity to learn something new. On the flip side to identify what you are passionate about is a huge step in the process. What kind of positions come to mind that you know that no matter how busy it gets or how “hard” of a day you had you will still ENJOY doing that type of work.

Don’t get me wrong we aren’t talking about some mythical role where it’s going to be all rainbows and gumdrops every day, that’s not realistic and I like to operate within the real world not la la land. So really think about it, what is something you can say you are passionate about. Once you know that look for positions that get you closer to that goal or better yet start to educate yourself so that you can put yourself in front of the opportunities that you are passionate about. In this day and age, many hiring managers have interviewed many people within their career so they can easily identify someone who just needs a job vs someone who WANTS the job. Passion and having the right attitude will win out every time.

Your Profile Summary or Objective can be what you make it. Whether it’s a quick summary of your work experience, or a brief description of why you are awesome, or a sentence about why you are looking and what you want out of your next employer. There’s really no right or wrong, but I encourage anyone to use it as an opportunity to talk about what makes you special in the sea of resumes and explain what you are looking for in your next opportunity.

Knowledge/Skills/Abilities

In the HR world you will hear this called KSA’s, these are the things an employer is going to want to know about you up front. What knowledge do you have about the role you are applying to, why do you think your background is a fit for this position, how do you think you can elevate this role, what skills do you feel like you can offer, and overall what abilities do you believe you possess and why should we want to bring those into our organization.

The more of those types of questions you can answer in a form of listing your qualifications out the better your chances are. Many people get caught up in the emotional aspects about their resume, feeling like if I don’t have this one word, this one project, this one thing in my resume I won’t get an interview. The simple fact is, a resume isn’t for you, you are not the resume’s target audience, the target audience is that potential employer you are trying to impress. So think about the information you provide within your resume thru the lens of why anyone outside of you cares. Yes, it sounds harsh but the more you can separate yourself from the emotion of a resume/application process the better you will be able to see it as a business transaction. A company is seeking a specific skill-set and a person they can see fitting into their organization and helping to elevate it and they are willing to pay for such skill. You, on the other hand, are selling your skills and explaining how you can bring VALUE to an organization because of what you bring to the table.

This is something that I hope everyone can understand and it’s true for any role whether you are applying to flip burgers or applying to build a department from the ground up. It will always come down to what you bring to the table and is the company interested in what you are selling. Oh and by the way do it in a clear, concise manner because you are 1 of 200+ applicants they have to screen as well. There is no place for ego in a job search, of course, there is only one you but to think that you are the only one with certain skills…well, I’m no psychologist so with that kind of thinking you are on your own.

Education

One of the biggest questions I get is should education be placed on a resume and where. The answer is YES and near the TOP. Make sure it’s relevant information. No one cares that you received CPR Training if you aren’t applying for a healthcare role.

People in my world will debate this to no end as far as placement, and at the end of the day as long as it’s there that’s the main thing.

But as an active recruiter in the field, I will say having it near the top helps someone quickly identify if you meet their educational requirements (should they have them). No one wants to have to look all through your resume to find that key piece of information just to realize you don’t meet the qualifications of the position, and if they work in an industry that has strict requirements they have no choice but to remove you from consideration.

So do yourself a favor and have that information available quickly! I do recommend leaving dates off of your education to assist with potential age-based assumptions/judgment. You will be hard pressed to know if that was a reason you didn’t get selected to move to the next step, but I say create one less worry for yourself and don’t include it if you don’t have to. Online applications might force you to anyway, so why also highlight it in a resume.

As long as humans are apart of the recruitment process, you will also have to factor in the impact of human nature. Which is to make assumptions based on information provided.

Work History

We’ve made it to everyone’s favorite area, the lovely listing of our work history.

I’ll let you in on a secret….just between us….you do not have to list every single job you’ve ever had since you were 16 years old.

Now yes, there may be applications that ask you to list a certain amount of work history over a certain amount of time, don’t even get me started on government resume requirements, etc. But those are few and far between. Simply put, a resume is a marketing tool for you, so you should only be highlighting information that’s relevant in your career journey and how it applies to positions you are applying to today.

Example, my first “real” job was a Receptionist at Sport Clips…shout out Sport Clips for teaching me the value of coupons…., especially when you have a mom of 5 boys coming in for haircuts. Ok…to get back on track, I am not including that work history on my resume currently. Do I still use some of the skills obtained sure! Why? Because they are still relevant today, it was the foundation to customer service skills that I still use every day, my “customers” are now employees, hiring managers, and applicants. Is that work history still relevant to my HR Career today, nope!

So there is nothing wrong with tailoring your resume to highlight things that are relevant and applicable in today’s market. It never fails, I will ask someone about a position they had over 8 years ago and they will often say, well I don’t remember the systems I used there I just had it on there because that’s where I worked. My question is, why are you still listing employment history that has no relevance to what you are looking to do now, or work history that you no longer have a skills reference for.

It’s hard to break people from that habit and you can still list all of that lovely no longer important history if it makes you feel better, but don’t give it the same weight of importance over your most recent history.

You Got This

The bottom line is, resumes really aren’t that hard to create. Like with anything providing something of quality takes some effort. And it’s that “effort” part that people find pause in. Most want the outcome, not the work invested to get there, and there’s no shame in it.

I created Harris Writing Services to help everyday people looking to have a step up or gain some insight into the tricky world of recruitment. It’s evolved into more services offered but it’s no secret our go-to service is resume writing, and rightfully so as it’s just simply not everyone’s favorite cup of tea.

So if you decide you want to invest in yourself and allow someone else to create your resume for you we got you, my team is ready to take your order today!