The job market is quickly evolving and millions of individuals are seeking positions at healthy organizations. Learn how to properly attract the right organization for you through your résumé.
Your résumé is often your first impression when applying for a job, but it doesn’t have to just be a fact sheet — it needs to tell your great story.
Well-crafted résumés make you stand out and intrigue search committees and potential employers. I love working with my clients on their résumés and moving them from good to truly outstanding. Let’s look at 5 strategies to help you do the same.
1. Use a Great Modern Template!
I can’t emphasize this enough. If you take away one tip, choose a modern template and have your résumé look current and appealing. The format is similar to the cover of a book and has the power to catch the reader’s attention. Use a clean, modern template design that is compelling and easily found online. There are hundreds to choose from. Find one that works best to tell your story. Contact me and I'll be happy to share the one that many of my clients have had great success with.
2. Start with a Personal Statement That Sets You Apart
Set the tone from the start with a powerful and unique personal statement. It functions similarly to the blurb of a book, which entices the viewer to read the story after you’ve caught their attention above. It also sets you distinctly apart from others. Effectively summarize who you are as a professional and what employers can expect from you in your new role. There is usually a spot for this just below your name.
Here’s an example from a recent client who is getting excellent feedback on their résumé:
“As a seasoned leader in the nonprofit sector, I center the voices of the professional staff, lay leadership and organizational stakeholders in all aspects of visioning, managing and funding of organizations that I serve. I build and support dynamic teams—both local and remote, launch innovative initiatives and programs, and develop all-new operating systems to successfully sustain organizational growth and change.”
3. Utilize Storytelling Elements
The main character in your résumé is you, while the supporting characters are your current and former employers, colleagues, clients, and staff members. The settings are the organizations you worked for as well as the teams and colleagues you worked with.
The plot is the start, middle, and end of your work journey. It tells the story of your professional life in a compelling way. A great story has a major conflict; describe a professional challenge you encountered and the problem-solving skills you harnessed to uniquely resolve it.
An example of storytelling on your résumé: “Assessed philanthropic interest of alumni through interviews, focus groups and relationship building. Developed alumni leadership taskforce to spearhead projects for fellow alumni. Cultivated a culture of alumni giving through relationship building and peer-to-peer campaigns. Increased alumni giving by 60%.”
4. Focus On Your Audience
Keep your intended audience in mind as you create your résumé. Analyze the job description and customize your résumé and cover letter to meet their criteria based on your previous experiences. Remember to always add a few 1-2 sentence stories in your cover letter to explain how your experience meets the stated qualifications. My biggest tip here is to make those stories personal.
An example of tailoring your résumé to the job description: “I’m very passionate about helping fund cancer research as two of my close friends have successfully battled this illness with new treatments that have produced groundbreaking research.”
5. Edit, Edit, and Edit More
In my experience, I’ve encountered two interview finalists who did not receive an interview they expected because of typos that were found on their résumé and cover letter. Do not rely on spellcheck alone. To avoid this issue, have several friends or colleagues review both documents multiple times. It is critical to catch all misspellings and then save your résumé as a PDF immediately. It is human nature to make mistakes, but these simple steps will ensure that you make a lasting impression on potential employers.
While your résumé should tell a story, it can be challenging to achieve, especially if you haven’t done it before. Contact me for help creating a CV that strategically utilizes storytelling techniques. I can help you make an impact on prospective employers through your résumé and maximize your professional opportunities.
“You are an amazing professional, a wonderful friend and a true mensch."
-David Raphael, Co-Founder and CEO, Jewish Grandparents Network; Former Multi-Campus Hillel Executive, Interim and Regional Director