Resume Best Practices

I’m a “Pro” on LinkedIn, meaning individuals can seek out my services for executive, career, and interview coaching. Additionally, LinkedIn has me listed as a resume writer, which I no longer specialize in as it doesn’t bring me the same joy that coaching does. I share this because I receive 50-60 emails from LinkedIn Pro each day for individuals who are looking for resume writing support. I, therefore, thought it prudent to share my resume writing best practices with everyone!

Bots take the first pass: More and more commonly, artificial intelligence is being used to source the first round of resumes for hiring teams to review. These bots are scouring your resume for keywords in your subject matter expertise, job titles, educational requirements, skills, and even language requirements. For your resume to stand out, you must tailor it to the job description. Here’s how:

  1. Go to LinkedIn or Indeed and find a job you’d love to land.
  2. Read each of the position requirements in the job description
  3. Write your resume bullets as a “response” to each of the position requirements
  4. Apply!

As an example, this (actual) technology job description written for a Project Manager on Indeed has the following top three bullets:

  • Take the lead of scrum teams as the Product Owner. 
  • Provide vision and direction to the Agile development team and stakeholders throughout the project and create requirements.
  • Plan and prioritize product feature backlog and development for the product.

Your goal is to reframe each bullet from the job description onto your resume and ensure there is a quantifiable impact stated. From the above three bullets, you could say:

  • As the Product Owner, led a diverse scrum team to deliver on X% of weekly targets.
  • Created requirements and provided direction to the Aglie development team through stakeholder management and visioning.
  • Refined and executed on the product feature backlog through careful prioritizing and planning with a backlog burn rate of X%.

The aim is to make your resume a direct “solve” for the job description. If done correctly, you’re much more likely to receive a call for the interview! And yes, this means you could potentially have multiple versions of your resume.

The importance of titles: Bots are filtering out resumes based on experience. They’re using your position title as a primary indication of experience. Therefore, you may need to rephrase your title to match industry norms.

Let’s say your internal company title was a Support Specialist II, but in actuality, your role was as a Help Desk Technician. For the sake of “getting past the bot,” update your title to match industry standards. Never however inflate your title or level to over-state your experience. You must operate from a place of integrity. Imagine if your potential employer learned that you were a Help Desk Technician when you listed you were a Help Desk Manager. Dishonest position inflation is a quick way to have an offer rescinded.

If you’ve rephrased your title, once you’re in the interview, say something like, “My actual title was Support Specialist II. In that role, however, I provided Help Desk support organization-wide, which is why I listed it as such on my resume.”

After your resume is dialed in and you’re getting recruiters to call you, ensure you can nail the top three interview questions. Here’s a guide to support you. Good luck!