A good friend of mine told me about his sister who had been out of work for almost a year. His sister refused to go to a professional resume writer because she had already sent out dozens of resumes with no success whatever. So why should she pay for a product that would not get her a job?
My friend asked to see her resume. He told me: “I looked at the resume and rolled my eyes. My sister has years and years of experience, a really interesting career, but it has all been at the same company. She has been promoted over and over and hasn’t been in the job market since graduate school. In fact, I think what she did was simply update her resume from graduate school 20 years ago.”
When finally I had a chance to see the resume, I had to agree with my friend. The resume had all the hallmarks of someone who has never looked for a job. Here are the changes I made, rewriting the resume to current standards:
◾Placed the position she was looking for at the top, in the header. In her old resume, a recruiter or hiring manager would have to read the entire resume to discover that she was qualified as a Vice President/Director of R&D.
◾Started the resume with a profile. The old resume jumped right into her most recent position with the company. Again, a hiring manager or recruiter would have to read the entire resume to locate her skills and achievements over the years.
◾Focused the resume on achievements and their value to the company. For example, she developed laboratory procedures that saved millions of dollars and became state-of-the-art for other labs in the company—in her original resume those results were never mentioned.
◾Added keywords important to an applicant tracking system.
◾Listed professional courses she had taken and professional organizations she belonged to and led over the years. Her ability to stay up to date and respected in her profession would be important to a new employer.
◾Added her foreign language skills—which her old employer never used—and her love of travel. That international perspective might have considerable value for a new employer with overseas locations or business associates.
I rewrote the resume to current standards and my friend’s sister was amazed at the difference. She said, “Now I can see that my old resume was a kid’s resume. This new one is a resume for a grown up.”