So what does this have to do with your resume? Take a look at your resume and see how hard you have to look for the hidden masterpieces of achievement. Do they stand out are are they buried?
Most people approach the onerous task of resume revision by adding more recent information such as job experience or training to the same old document. Is that your approach too? Unfortunately, the additive approach to revising your resume is very similar to the accumulation of years of grime on those cityscapes that street artists take as their canvas. Borrowing the technique of removing layers of grime to showcase your talents is a much more successful approach to revising your resume.
In order to “find” your strengths, start cutting the content of your resume. But getting rid of the grime can feel impossible because it becomes an emotional task. See if these statements sound familiar:
“But I was the youngest project manager across 3 states.”
“I won Rookie of the Year at my first job.”
Of course these are important accomplishments to you because they are part of your personal job history. These early accomplishments probably gave you the confidence to succeed at the next level. However, as you advance in your career, your resume no longer needs to include your professional “baby pictures.”
To avoid the temptation to include all of your work history in your resume, archive one version that is comprehensive. Maintain this comprehensive resume with all of the details that are important to you personally – and then set that version aside. Next, start fresh. To create an effective resume, cut, cut, cut the content until it includes only the last ten to fifteen years of your career.
This advice may seem surprising, but consider this: including too many successes from early in your career may make the hiring manager wonder if your best years are behind you. You can’t risk that impression because you are feeling nostalgic about your early career! Get rid of the grime by deleting early career highlights.
Just as an artist approaches a painting with an outline sketch, you need to take a deliberate approach to your resume. What is the impression or picture that you want the hiring manager to have of you after reading your resume? A good outline for your resume will help you create a compelling story by painting a picture of your experiences.
Use descriptions of each company to provide the background for your accomplishments. Then include an interesting narrative of your job duties. Daily tasks of your job are the midpoint of the “painting” that is your resume. Finally describe the important details of your achievements in the foreground where they will receive the greatest attention from the reader. The background, midpoint, and foreground approach to your outline paints a cohesive picture of your skills and qualifications by removing unnecessary grime.
Remember to follow your outline in describing all three levels to maintain the focus on the qualifications that matter to the potential employer. Including too many details will obscure your achievements. Create a pleasant picture with your resume and the hiring manager is likely to spend more time reviewing your documents.
When making your outline, you may also need to consult references for the details, just as an artist might look for additional information about architecture or nature to complete their masterpiece. Review job descriptions to gain a sense of key qualifications for the opening and to make certain your resume demonstrates those skills. You may also be able to highlight industry key words by reviewing job descriptions. Strategic placement of those terms in your documents will get the right attention from hiring managers and search engines.
A reverse graffiti approach can give you a new perspective and help you discover what strengths are hidden behind years of old work experience and accomplishments listed in your resume. Chances are that your resume includes information that no longer reflects your current level of skill. Clear away the grime from your resume and show the hiring manager the masterpiece of unique accomplishments you have to offer!
GetInterviews.com is the country’s leading resume writing firm. They provide professionals with customized, branded resumes and career marketing documents. The staff’s credentials include being cited by JIST Publications as one of the "best resume writers in North America," quoted as a career expert in The Wall Street Journal, and published in a whopping 50+ career books. Established in 1994, the firm has aided more than 175,000 job seekers to date. All resume writers are Certified Professional Resume Writers.