By Dr. Anita Davis-DeFoe
As a globally certified career development facilitator and a nationally certified workforce development professional, I am asked all the time what makes a resume sizzle, what are the resume moves to consider when looking for a job or seeking to advance one’s career……
• The Power of Two – A woman should have at least two resumes, a chronological (shows career progression) and functional (shows range of transferable skills); a functional resume can be easily adapted to highlight skills and achievements for specific jobs in a variety of industries. Remember you are writing a sales document, marketing a product…YOU!!! Your resume provides the answer to the question, why should the employer hire you. Think GIFTS (Goals- Innovation-Focus-Transferability-Strengths)
• Stay Current – Resumes should be updated at least every six months, even quarterly. The resume should be updated at the completion of new projects or assignments which can further demonstrate your range of skills and competencies
• 21st Century Resume Formats – Remove that outdated objective statement and replace it with a headline followed by a skills summary or a profile. Here is an example headline and profile for a sales and marketing manager: EXPERIENCED SALES & MARKETING MANAGER Results-delivering senior sales and marketing manager with an exemplary record of leading organizations to exceed goals annually. Currently lead $50M sales team for multiple product lines as a Regional Sales Manager for XYZ Corporation. Adept at developing and executing strategies that increase market share and generate record-breaking sales. Strong teaming and relationship-building skills, known for securing crucial strategic partners.
Examples of keyword phrases for a sales and marketing manager:
• client relationship management
• strategic alliance building
• negotiations and deal structuring
• customer acquisition
• marketing strategies
• key account management and retention
• P&L management
• brand development and management
• collateral design and development.
What Employers/Hiring Managers Look For
• Use Titles That Match The Jobs You Want – Capture an employer’s attention by matching your job titles to the job advertisement you are responding to, and by using a title that best depicts your job responsibilities; for example instead of stating Accounting/Recordkeeping use titles such as Management of A/R and A/P Accounts; or instead of simply listing Administrative write Departmental Administration/Recordkeeping.
• Communicate Your Impact – Organizations are feverously working to identify management strategies and talent which can help them to:
1. make money
2. save money and time
3. make work easier
4. solve specific problems
5. be more competitive within the industry
6. build strategic relationships and collaborative partners
7. expand the business
8. attract and retain customers
so these critical skill sets should be reflected in the resume, and this can also serve one well when it comes to job retention because if company cutbacks become necessary those women performing with a spirit of excellence in these areas will be retained at all cost.
• Wordsmith – Employers initially screen resumes from between 2.5 to 20 seconds looking for each applicant’s skills and achievements in response to the job’s requirements; and also since in many instances this is done by computer, make certain your resume includes industry buzzwords and key phrases in response to the vacancy posting and industry trends.
• Show Me the Numbers – Quantifying your accomplishments is essential in both the corporate and non-profit sectors, in this environment driven by results and accountability metrics matter; work to detail your accomplishments, not merely your duties; in today’s global workplace, employers are seeking individuals who can analyze and solve operational, programmatic, fiscal and process management challenges in this environment of uncertainty; ensure that you detail processes that you improved, programs that you enhanced, cost saving measures that you implemented, and avoid using typical expressions like “duties included, responsibilities included or responsible for”; by focusing on outcomes achieved, this will set you apart from the other job applicants.
• Employer Focused – List items in a manner that meet reader’s interest- your title/position should be first, not the date as was the case in days gone by; then name of employer, city/state of employer, dates of employment.
• Projecting Power – Use power words or verbs that match the level of position that you seek; for example if you are striving to progress into a management position power words may include directed, supervised, trained, created, or reviewed. The world of work is expanding from an information economy to a conceptual one, so every woman from entry-level to executive should be seeking to enhance their skills, and honing skills which are transferable across industry sectors. In addition to core technical, foundational and soft skills, there are four skill clusters that everyone should strive to master as the economy continues to shift from knowledge to conceptual: the first is digital age literacy (scientific, economic, technological, visual, information, cultural and global awareness knowledge); the next is inventive (ability to think critically to identify solutions, being self-directed, curious, and adaptable to change); effective communication (interpersonal and interactive skills, essential to effective participation on work teams) and high personal productivity (planning, prioritizing and managing one’s work, an ability to produce high quality work products)
• Identify and Solve Employer Needs – In today’s world of work, a woman must be keenly aware of all of the skills she possesses and how they are of benefit to organizations in various industries. Constantly conduct ongoing environmental scanning, mentally evaluating “the state of organization development” in your field of expertise, as well as the employer’s needs, always looking to identify gaps in programmatic, tactical or operational capacity. These gaps can offer you opportunities to detail in your resume and cover letter how you can address these needs.
• Bottom Line Basics – Focus on the employer’s bottom line, Think bottom line…How did you contribute to improving a company’s economics? Think goals…. What did you do to further the achievement of organizational goals? Think about ways to exceed expectations? What standards or objectives did you surpass?
Author & Editorial Team Member Anita Davis-DeFoe has long recognized the power, the magic, and the impact of words of wisdom. A true believer in sisterhood, the uplifting of women and girls, and the endless possibilities that inspirational collaboration can create, Dr. DeFoe works to empower others throughout the United States, Africa and the Caribbean.
Anita Davis-DeFoe is an Associate Editor with Caribbean Voice, a South Florida newspaper, and a Life Strategist Columnist for She Caribbean (St. Lucia), and Caribbean Belle (Trinidad). Dr. DeFoe is the Florida Bureau Chief for Caribbean Voice-New York and serves as its editor for EVOLVE, InPowerment for Women, a newsprint for women and girls, and is the of Soulfully Speaking and Spirit in the Village on CaribVoice Radio.