To land your next big job, your resume, bio or Linkedin Profile needs to reflect your seniority and correspond with your level of experience. Far too often, we find that mid-career professionals forget to look at their story from the lens of their seniority and experience. Our coaches work with hundreds of professionals in IT Services and have seen first-hand why certain resumes get passed over or don’t make it through screening.
First, the summary.
Your summary is your elevator pitch, it is the most important section on your resume. Ideally, it should be a quick snapshot of who you are as a professional and a person. Keep it to four sentences. If a hiring manager reads ONE thing on your resume, it's going to be your summary. This is where you hook your audience and let them know what you’re all about. Here are our top tips to write a great summary:
We know that writing a summary or personal headline is incredibly difficult. If you are struggling, go ask a mentor or work friend to describe you, your passion, and your work. When you’re talking about your most recent role, don’t just be factual (“I’m currently __ at __), but think of how your super-boss or your customers would describe your role and its impact to the organization.
Next, an effective experience section.
A common mistake our coaches see with mid to senior resumes is that it reads as a chronology of professional experiences, instead of an overall narrative with all its twists, turns and reinventions. It can look like rings on a tree. The new ones look shiny and thought through, and as you continue reading through the resume and get to experiences that are more than 5 years old, the storytelling unravels. The most recent experience might read something like this…
“I lead the P&L and client relationships for a Fortune 500 CPG client, a fast growing 20M portfolio which has grown by 45% year on year”.
And then the last section often is very transactional - “worked on creating business requirements, user stories for a risk management system and responsible for day to day reporting”
We’re not judging! When most of us update our resumes, we just add our most recent experience to the top of the page. The problem with this is that it can seem disconnected. So instead of having one resume you continuously add to, rewrite it each time you’re job searching to tell the story you’re looking to craft for a new opportunity.
Be as specific as you can when writing about your experience. Companies are rarely hiring for generalist mid-career sales professionals, so add your Industry focus, types of clients, services and solutions that you have sold in the past. This will also add keywords to your resume and Linkedin profile, which will make you more discoverable.
Include numbers and achievements - percentage growth, new industries, new solutions, new partners, teams you’ve led, groups you’ve mentored. Whenever you can, add specifics to your resume. Instead of saying you deepend a client relationship, say that you grew the account from _$ to _$. Instead of saying you were in charge of bringing in new business, say that you brought in _$ worth of new accounts. Even if you can’t divulge or don’t have exact numbers, just give an estimate. Remember, for a senior sales or account leader position, the numbers are sometimes the most important.
Highlight your Industry influence
For client facing professionals, it is incredibly important to have an external presence. List which industries and affinity groups you support, speaking engagements, publications or articles. If this section seems a little light for you, make it a goal to do more of this. Remember that you can start small, like posting an original article on your LinkedIn.
Wrap it up with Education and Passions
Your education should be at the end of your resume. At this stage of your career, this section can be brief - GPAs and college clubs are no longer relevant. A section for your passions and interests can go a long way in conveying your personality to prospective employers. These don’t necessarily need to be related to your work, use this section to bring your story to life!
Finally, don’t forget to update Linkedin
Keep Linkedin in sync with your resume - at this level, most opportunities aren’t posted online for you to apply to. Typically, a recruiter would reach out to you. Thus, staying active and discoverable on Linkedin is very important.
Just a reminder- if it’s no longer serving your professional narrative, you don’t need to keep every single experience you’ve ever had on your resume.
A note for the women and introverts !
Our research shows that women (and many others) tend to understate their accomplishments in their resumes & don’t always represent their professional journey as impactful as they could. You may intend this to come off as humble, but it may lead to the impression that you are not as experienced as you are. Remember that this is your resume, it is okay to talk about your accomplishments and own your success. Read more of our top resume tips for women HERE.
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