Just lately, I’ve read a rash of articles claiming to reveal the hard and fast rules of resume writing. They have titles like “5 rules of a great resume” or “10 words you must never use on your resume.”
Maybe you’ve read some of these articles. Maybe you’ve even made changes to your resume after finding out that the word “innovative” is now forbidden and must be replaced, or that using the phrase “self-motivated” is akin to admitting you are an unimaginative loser with no writing ability.
But there’s one rule that supersedes all these other rules and that’s this one: Never change your resume based on one of these articles!
Seriously don’t do it. You won’t get the answer to your resume woes from a 500-word article purporting to lay down the law.
Like anything worth doing well, writing a good resume is hard work. And most of the work happens before you ever write a word.
Here at Blue Sky, we’re getting ready to launch a new line of products and we’re working with our web developers on redesigning the site to accommodate them. So far not a pixel has been designed and not a word of copy has been finalized because were still trying to decide on the message we want to communicate, and the best way to appeal to our target market. When we have nailed that down, we’ll be ready to start creating the actual web pages.
It’s been hard work – painful at times – as we tease out the key messaging. There are tons of things I want to tell people about these new products – I’m excited about them for all kinds of reasons! – but if I try to say it all, no one will hear anything. And so we are working our way slowly towards the correct positioning and the message that will resonate.
Exactly the same is true of you and your resume. Most of your work should come before you ever sit down to type a word. If you work on understanding your target audience, defining your own unique value, and pinpointing the two or three key things that your audience needs to know, you will be in a position to write a resume that has tremendous focus and power. It won’t matter what specific words you choose – what’s important is the central message and themes.
So do this work first, and you can feel free to write “innovative” or “detail-oriented” or whatever others words an expert deems inappropriate. It won\’t matter because your resume will say exactly what it needs to in order to generate results.
If you’d like to learn how to do this in more detail, check out our free resume writing course. You’ll be relieved at how easy it is to transform your resume.