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Career Focus

Resumes: Sea of Text or Brevity

By LISA TRUDEL - September 28 2021
Resumes: Sea of Text or Brevity

The answer to this headline is brevity. Your resume should have less text and more concise accomplishments written in a way that grabs the attention of the reader. Resume writing is storytelling however it is not a long-written version of the whole tale of your life. A resume is a story of your professional life in one or two pages maximum.

At Achēv, the career centre where I work, I read hundreds of resumes and the resumes that secure job interviews use the following simple yet effective formula:

Contact information
The first line should be your name. The second line is your city and Province and the third line is your phone number and email address. The fourth line is the link to your LinkedIn Profile.

What you are looking for
In the past, this line was called “objective”. You no longer need to write the word “objective” on your resume since it is a waste of text space. Instead, simply write a line that states who you are and where you are going. For example, if I was job searching, my own resume might state: “Experienced Career Specialist, Writer, and Diversity Inclusivity Advocate seeking contract-based remote projects”. You need to know who you are and where you are going.

Summary
This is the most important part of a resume. It is the highlights of your best skills in no more than 8 bullet points that introduces who you are and convinces the reader to contact you. Your resume is usually initially read by a resume scanner or applicant tracking system, however once your resume passes this software, a person will be reading it. That person might only glance at the first 3 to 4 lines, so you need to capture attention by writing your accomplishments with the results first. The secret to doing this is to borrow the STAR formula often used for interviews. STAR stands for: situation, task, action and results. Take this formula and reverse it. Instead of starting with the situation, start with the results. Here is a before and after example:

Before

  • Assisted with creation of monthly newsletters and worked to increase subscriber base

After

  • Increased monthly newsletter subscriber list from 1,500 to 3,000 in 3-month period resulting in 15% increase in revenue

STAR is quantifying your accomplishments by including facts and figures, which provides evidence to show that you are skilled at something. You cannot add numbers to all of your summary bullets so just aim for two. Employers like statistics thus incorporate them into your resume whenever you can. Become a star candidate by using STAR in reverse the next time you write your resume summary and instead of a sea of text, create a resume with brevity.
To find out more about resumes, career planning and employment preparation, contact your local Employment Ontario Career Centre and find out if you meet the criteria to use their free services.


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