The most basic rule of resume writing is Tell the Truth. Closely aligned is Transparency.
Truth-telling in your resume is active and selective. Use this fact, not that fiction.
Transparency is about who you are and are not. Now, don’t get me wrong. I’m not suggesting you bare your soul about that project that went sideways in 2001. Transparency doesn’t mean telling all. A resume is a marketing document and contains only examples of your shining self.
Transparency is about the things that make you you. Those things are important for an employer to hear about so they can determine whether you are a good fit for their team. It means being yourself, not who you think they want. If you land the job as someone else, you have to perform the job as someone else, and that is exhausting.
That means lighting up a few corners you may not have thought were important in a resume. Think of your soft skills and personality traits that support your efforts at work.
For example, I am extremely conscientious, reliable, and deadline-driven. These traits don’t make me the life of the party, but they make me a really good resume writer. These are good things for me to mention on my resume.
Many people try to do this with a big list of character traits. That’s OK; it will give employers a glimpse into your personality. However, an even better strategy is to give examples as evidence. For the traits I listed above, that might go something like this:
- Conscientious: Take every detail into consideration before making decisions. Prefer doing it right to doing it fast.
- Reliable: Clients often remark that they appreciate being able to count on me to produce what I promise.
- Deadline Driven: Plan carefully and deliver every project on or ahead of time.
This list may take me out of the running with some clients. For example, some people want a resume fast. They don’t particularly care if it’s great. My conscientious trait will not appeal to them.
The flip side of that is that they are doing me a favor by not choosing me. I would not enjoy working with someone who was interested only in how quickly I could finish a project. They are not a good fit for me in the same way that some employers are not a good fit for you. You just have to give them enough information to make a good decision. Sometimes, not landing a job is a gift.
If you have difficulty deciding which character traits to include in your resume, take one of the profiles offered online. I prefer DISC because it is straightforward, inexpensive, and offers a page of character traits in the report. I also like StrengthFinder 2.0, but you need to buy the book to have a good interpretation of your profile. Myers-Briggs is excellent and expensive, and you have to be certified to administer the profile.
However you decide to do it, the important part is to let an employer see who you are.
If you’re having trouble getting this part of your resume on paper, contact me right away. I can administer a DISC profile, and the report will help us know which character traits are important to include in your resume.
Image courtesy adamr via freedigitalphotos.net.