With so many books, websites, and other resources available these days to help individuals with the resume-writing process, as well as hundreds of samples available via the Internet, it is much easier than it used to be for the average person to put together a decent resume for themselves. In fact, I would argue that the value of hiring a professional resume writer has diminished greatly now that “desktop publishing” has become a skill set possessed by the typical computer user. This is in stark contrast to the old days when half the battle involved simply taking a typewritten (or believe it or not, handwritten!) resume and laying it out electronically using word processing software. Times have sure changed!
The value of professional resume assistance therefore now lies almost entirely in the area of content, as opposed to format, and the #1 benefit most resume consultants currently have to offer is the ability to draw out a number of skills, accomplishments, and career highlights that the candidate in question has overlooked — either due to the lack of objectivity, or in some cases, an overdeveloped (and career endangering) sense of modesty. Good resume writers can also, of course, advise job seekers around the buzzwords that seem most appealing to employers at the moment, as well as help tighten up the copywriting on the resume to ensure that the document is crisp, concise, and attention-grabbing.
Back to the main point, however. The truth is that in today’s information age, most of the “tricks” and “secrets” that resume-writing professionals once held close to the vest are no longer all that tricky, nor secret. And yet, there are three techniques that Career Horizons regularly recommends that we still haven’t seen copied or referenced very often by other books or resume-writing firms. These are:
1) Add your LinkedIn profile address to the “contact information” header at the top of your resume, especially if you’re in the field of sales, marketing, or technology; the LinkedIn system has grown so popular that this inclusion signals that you’re up-to-speed on the latest technology — and invites people to visit your profile and read more about your wonderful capabilities!
2) Consider adding a “Current Reading” section at the bottom of your resume, or in the Education section, that outlines a few book titles you’re currently reviewing; not only can this lead to some stimulating and rapport-building small talk, but it also gets some great keywords on your resume (e.g. Sarbanes-Oxley for Dummies) and shows your next employer you’re committed to continuous learning.
3) If you have a formal degree, especially an MBA, consider including a breakdown of the specific classes and coursework you’ve completed (e.g. Corporate Tax Planning, Business Law, Financial Planning & Forecasting, etc.) so that, again, you get some juicy keywords embedded in your document and squeeze maximum value out of the educational credential that you’ve attained.
Not all of the above techniques make sense for every candidate, of course, and you certainly wouldn’t want to sacrifice other legitimate content to force these sections into your piece. But at the very least, they’re worth considering — especially since we haven’t seen them advocated anywhere else!