Resume inspiration from a headhunter
Doing your resume can be a TOTAL PAIN in the a$$. #insertFrustrationandDiscouragement
I'm known for saying, "You would find me in the corner, in the fetal position, rocking back and forth, if I had to do an overhaul of my resume." Luckily, I've learned and seen a lot with running Exceptional Admins, LLC that I have some promising inspiration for those paralyzed because of the conflicting information out there.
Disclaimer: This is my 75% professional and 25% personal opinion.
1) Formatting: You MUST add the month to the year to tell the full tenure story. And with that, pick 3 letters for each month or the full month, not a combination. This is where attention to detail plays in your favor.
2) Attention to detail: Great segway - using the "Attention to Detail" phrase anywhere in your resume is the death of any job search / resume. If just one thing is off (i.e. the month comment above) you're out. It never fails, there's a typo, missing period, inconsistency with your layout; it happens to the best of us. Instead, I always inspire professionals to change that wording to "Passionate about the details" - e.g. when hosting an intimate party for your executive and you go above and behind to curate a great event, that considers everyone's likes and wants, then you were passionate about the details.
3) Number of pages: A 1-page resume is the death (for #exceptionaladmins) of your salary, advancement desires. Unless you've supported well-known professionals, say Mark Zuckerberg and just saying you were his EA is enough to tell people you're #exceptional, then 2-pages is where it's at. For my wonderfully seasoned professionals, give great detail for each role you sat in over the last 10 years, then end your resume with a Prior Experience section listing your title and company name, along with the date period. This way individuals reviewing your resume are able to understand the depth of your toolbox.
4) Company: In looking over several dozen resumes a week, the biggest time saver for me is when a professional was thoughtful and added a quick sentence or two telling me what their prior employer offered the market place. This saves me time in having to search the internet to learn more. Plus, it tells me you were 'detailed' about telling your story and what you bring to the table.
5) Opening summary: In today's busy world, studies have revealed we have only 8-seconds of someone's attention before we lose their focus; wow, that's not a lot time. So, I'm in favor of this being on a resume because it helps further your chances of moving forward. It's a powerful (personal branding) marketing component to hook / grab one's attention and tell them you're worth a more thorough review. Here's the tricky part, as it should be three to four (five max) sentences, how does one make it exceptional - insert yet another paralyzing moment in your job search.
For new professionals, consider: "I'm an eager professional looking to add immediate value to both big and small requests. I would self describe as resourceful, thoughtful, and proactive. I enjoy collaborating and periods of down time for laser-focused work. Thank you for considering me and my background as an option for the open role in which I applied."
For mid-career professionals, consider: "I'm currently in the market for a new opportunity as I've reached the ceiling in my current role. I bring immediate strengths in the following areas: [list only two things here]. During my first 30-days in a new role, I'll be actively listening and observing as much as possible, generating detailed notes that support thoughtful questions, while also identifying processes that could be improved for the betterment of the role, executive(s), and organization. Thank you for considering me and my background as an option for the open role in which I applied."
For seasoned professionals, consider: "Back in the day, I would have been called a girl Friday, but I've evolved professionally and I would now describe myself as an executive's strategic business partner. I bring a rich toolbox of skills and emotional intelligence that would be valuable to any executive of any level. I invite you to review my professional timeline below and thank you for considering me and my background as an option for the open role in which I applied."
You can use a combination of any from the above, being true to yourself (and your audience) on what you bring. So many people think it needs to be long-winded and fancy to elevate your candidacy, it doesn't...arrive to your point quickly and be authentic.
6) Cover Letter: I'm not a fan, as it's yet more to read and it usually copies what's on your resume, and as I mentioned before, you have limited time. But if you must, consider this article to get a great point across...that being, you are worth hiring.
It's hard to change jobs, especially for those that are lost and not sure. I have more than a dozen calls a week to not only connect with professionals about their career objectives but to learn about their experiences with finding new employment. I'm known for saying, "My goal with Exceptional Admins is to compliment a candidate's career objective(s) and confirm whether or not it aligns with the hiring goal of my client/executive. From both sides, this is where the fit is forever a repeat mention during each call.
In closing, I tell people on the regular, making the time and investing in your resume is investing in your professional self, much like one would invest in fitness and well-being to feel and think at their best. You are worth it and you are your own advocate. Oh wait, one more thing...patience, yep, I said it, patience is key. The time it takes to find a new role, and the headache associated, why do it 1/2a$$ to then be back in the same spot in less than 2-years.
Sincerely yours, Hilani Ellis
Founder | Specialized Headhunter | Admin Advocate