I’ve come across several resume experts who say that it is impossible to convey personality on a resume. Nothing could be further from the truth. Soft skills and qualities give an employer a good indication of the kind of person you are and the kind of worker you will be.
For example, a word like flexible indicates that someone can fill different roles. It is important to follow up on this point in the resume and show how you are versatile and able to take on different roles. Similarly, a popular word in job postings that I often use in resume is proactive. Someone who is proactive either prevents a problem from happening or solves it without being told to do so. These are just two examples of how a personality can be conveyed as part of a well-written resume. Here are a few other terms that you can use to give an employer a sense of what you offer:
Many job posts include these terms. Find a way to integrate them into your resume so the employer can tell who you are as well as what you do.
I’ve been a Resume Writer for more than 10 years. In that time, I’ve met very few clients who were offered and accepted a job without meeting their immediate supervisor. However, in those rare cases when an applicant is hired in this manner, employment tends to be short term and ugly.
Most supervisors resent it when their boss makes a hiring decision without their input. They see the new employee as an outsider, maybe even a threat. In a recent case, one of my clients was written up two weeks after starting her job. She asked her supervisor for help, but received no support. A few weeks later, she tried to call her boss about a problem that needed immediate attention. The call was never returned. When she asked her boss about the situation, the answer was curt: “You should have known what to do.”
Needless to say, my client did not last beyond a 90 day probation period. What could she have done differently? Ask to meet her supervisor before accepting the job. As I said above, this situation is rare. But you should be ready if you encounter it. Always know who your supervisor will be. If that person is not part of the interviewing process, ask to have an interview with the supervisor before accepting an offer. If that request is denied, take it as a big red flag about the employer and how it operates. Be very careful about choosing to work for this type of company.
I’m reading a book on career management that dismisses resumes as “historical.” While it’s true that resumes summarize work history, their more important function is forward looking – to show why you are qualified for the kind of job you want, not the one you are leaving.
Many of the clients that ask me to review resumes fall into the historical trap. They focus on their most recent jobs and are very detailed in discussing that job. Being overly specific often makes it hard for an employer to see how a candidate fits their needs. This problem is even worse when a job seeker uses the language of her old company, language that only someone who works for that company would understand.
I frequently recommend that clients find 5-10 job posts and send them to me. I review them to understand the requirements and skills employers are looking for. I also track the repeated “key words” that are so important. By looking at these documents, I am able to focus the resume on the jobs my clients will apply for.
The key to a successful job search is to keep looking forward. You should only discuss your past to the degree that it shows how you are qualified for your next job or career move. In writing your resume and interviewing for jobs, keep your focus on what your next employer needs. It’s all about the future – and finding a better job.