5 Tips on How to Write a Resume – Show, Don’t Tell

5 Tips on How to Write a Resume – Show, Don’t Tell

Your Resume as Your Best Storyteller

Simply put, your resume is your story. To tell it effectively, and ensure it does the job you need it to in front of a prospective employer, it’s important your resume tells your story, not by telling at all, but instead by showing. When you demonstrate an example of your skills through a tangible successful outcome, the employer can quantify your abilities. Showing instead of telling is done through consistency, metrics and avoiding cliché phrase.

To ensure you get the most out of your resume, focus on the following top resume writing tips:

1. Consistency 

Tailor your resume so the information matches the specific skill sets mentioned in the job description, mirroring your prospective employer’s language where you can. For instance, if you are looking for a job in accounting, be sure to highlight your work in this field significantly, and mention the specific skills and tools you gained in your work in this space to-date, as opposed to detailing your experience working in retail. 

2. Highlight your Hard Skills AND Soft Skills

Hard skills are teachable abilities like computer, administrative, or customer service skills. By contrast, soft skills are people-oriented and cultural skills, such as interpersonal, communication, relationship-building abilities, and other qualities that enable you to be successful in the workplace.

Both types of skills may be included on a resume and in cover letters. The key is focusing your specific skill sets to the job requirements but also showing the full picture of what you bring to a role and an organization as a skilled asset and team player.

3. Provide Metrics  

It’s a fact that 17% of hiring managers spend 30 seconds or less reviewing resumes, and 68% spend less than two minutes, according to a national survey by Harris Poll on behalf of CareerBuilder.

This proves two effects that are critically important to you as a job seeker:

  1. Numbers provide a measurable outcome to your skills and they draw the eye.
  2. Decoding the job description and providing metrics to demonstrate your skill sets is essential to capturing an employer’s attention and securing the interview. 

4. Avoid Cliché Phrases 

Bloated resumes are filled with words that talk around your skills and say nothing about your actual accomplishments. Hiring managers and recruiters have a trained eye to these fluff words and will perceive a poor impression of your abilities. Phrases like results-driven, team player, jack-of-all-trades, thought leader, and detail-oriented, just to name a few- are big-time resume turn-offs.

Instead, focus on more descriptive words that enhance the telling of your story by showing an example of how your experience specifically applies. Some examples include:

  • Achieved
  • Improved
  • Trained/Mentored
  • Managed
  • Created
  • Resolved
  • Increased/Decreased
  • Negotiated
  • Launched
  • Revenue/Profits

5. Position Yourself for Top Success!

Overall, the best advice for positioning yourself and your skills as strong assets and valuable talents that will whet your prospective employer’s curiosity is to make your story compelling, and tell your story in a short concise manner by showing examples and using real metrics and facts where possible. Avoid the fluff words and focus on the best resume terms that employers like to see on resumes, and focus on the role and task at hand and you’ll be unstoppable in a hiring situation!

More Great Resume Tips From Sparks Group:

Are You Making These 7 Professional Resume Mistakes?

Creating a Winning Resume in the Era of Applicant Tracking Systems

Common Resume Mistakes to Avoid

Take the next step in your career with Sparks Group!

Written by Sparks Group

Sparks Group

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