You’re reading #2 of my Top Ten Tips for writing your resume. Read all the other tips by clicking on each link:
1. Be focused.—2. Be strategic and selective. — 3. Be succinct. — 4. Stand out from the crowd. — 5. Show results. — 6. Write it right. — 7. Make a great first impression. — 8. Be interesting. — 9. Be specific. — 10. Tell your story.
#2 BE STRATEGIC AND SELECTIVE
Let’s face it: You can’t possibly describe everything you’ve ever done in your career on 1, 2, or even 3 sheets of paper. You have to leave some things out. Embrace that truth and it becomes much easier to actually leave something out!
To be “strategic and selective” when writing your resume, include the information that is relevant to the type of job you’re pursuing. Omit details that are irrelevant or distracting.
Of course, omitting some things might cause additional problems. Be aware of the overall perception you’re creating. For example, if you omit several irrelevant jobs and leave a huge, unexplained gap in your work history, you may be fixing one problem but creating another. But that doesn’t mean you have to go into exhaustive detail about those irrelevant jobs.
In making “in or out” decisions, keep going back to that dream job you’re looking for. Is an item absolutely crucial? Give it prominent placement! Is it relevant but not that exciting? Include it but don’t overemphasize it. Is it irrelevant? Feel free to omit it.
Your resume is a first-level introduction—an overview of salient facts that, you hope, will prompt further discussion (a.k.a. an interview). With a strategic, selective presentation of your career details, you establish that you’re qualified for the job and have something to offer.
SUMMING IT UP
- Write your resume to position yourself for your dream job (or several closely related positions).
- Include what’s relevant and highlight the most impressive information.
- Embrace the fact that you can’t list everything you’ve ever done, and feel free to omit details that are just not that important at this stage of this particular job search.
BONUS TIP #11: GET HELP IF YOU NEED IT. Professional resume/profile writers are widely available for all professions, all levels, and in all fee ranges. Not only will we take an objective, employer-centric view of your career, we’re experts at uncovering the themes, threads, and success stories of your career that will sell your value.
Please email me (email@example.com) if you’d like a complimentary review of your resume, a few specific suggestions, and a proposal for a rewrite.
Next: #3 Be Succinct