There is a common misconception that the only purpose of the resume is to get you an interview. You’re short-changing yourself if you believe this.
I’ve watched resumes do many more things for job seekers, time and time again. Here are some of those things.
#1: Building a Detailed Resume Prepares You For Your Interview
Do yourself a favor.
Ignore all the advice that’s out there and try not to think of the resume as a required self-marketing document. Rather, it is an opportunity to review your life as it stands now. It is a time to examine a snapshot of time and it will only come into focus if you take the time to stare at it.
Anyone who has worked with a professional resume writer knows that they come out of the process more self-aware than when they went into it. Oftentimes, in working with me, people feel like this self-awareness is the most important result of a professional resume service.
What’s the secret? Professional writers start from a place of not-knowing. So you should too.
Instead of thinking you’re an expert on yourself, consider yourself a novice. Ask yourself plenty of questions to slow yourself down in your storytelling. By slowing down, you’ll remember other things you forgot, you’ll bring in new details. You will jar yourself loose from old stories that aren’t working and free yourself up to be the person you’ve evolved into since the last time you took a snapshot.
And confidence will sprout from there.
You will not only have great stories to tell in your interview but you will also believe in the power of your stories, which means others will too.
#2: A Good Resume Gets You Through the Interview, Not Just To It
The best resumes answer questions before they’re asked. All of your gaps, your gaffs, your stutter steps, your layoffs, your entrepreneurial sidetracks, your interrupted education, your short-term work… it should all be explained, briefly and unapologetically.
Your personality should come through on the resume, your philosophy, your worldview, your very heart revealed. People only need a glimpse to feel like they know where you’re coming from, not just what you’ve done for other people. When you walk through that door, your reputation and your personality should precede you.
Lastly, your resume should show the full story of your accomplishments – not only what you did, but what impact you had, and (often forgotten), which problem you solved. Each bullet point should answer Who, What, Why, Where, and When, with proper nouns and numbers to remove all ambiguity. Your stories should be uniquely yours.
With your trajectory, your personality, and your accomplishments all laid out in detail without any mystery leftover, the hiring manager won’t have to waste time inquiring about you and your past. In a sense, your resume will have already steered the direction of the interview, before you step foot in their office.
They will know you. They will believe you, which means they can focus less on interrogating you for answers and more on building rapport through curiosity.
You don’t have to be afraid of being challenged, of being revealed. You won’t have to scramble for answers. Your resume has done the hard work ahead of time, so the interview becomes your playground.
#3: A Strong Resume Will Boost Your Candidacy After the Interview
You’re not going to be there when your interviewers discuss how well you did.
But your resume will be.
You can bet the way your resume looks and reads will influence how you’re viewed as a candidate, regardless of how you performed in the interview.
As hiring managers toil over the finalists, they’re often passing around their resumes, yes, believe it or not, in hardcopy format. Indeed, your resume, quite literally, personifies you at this stage of the game.
Picture one interviewer pointing at your resume and commenting on something you said. Picture another person sliding your resume across the table to the others, a big smile on her face. “I like this one,” she says.
Also, what about the people who want to give input after the interview is over – the CEO who’s off traveling, the sick engineer, the HR rep. They may not be able to meet with you, but they will probably see your resume, along with a blurb from one of their colleagues.
Just as appearance matters in person, the way you look on paper makes a huge difference, especially after you’ve left the room. Although the memory of your interview performance will likely fade in the minds of your interviewers through the week(s) of hiring, your resume will stay the same. It will blare the same message. It will toot the same horn.
What’s it going to say?
#4: A Polished Resume Will Negotiate a Higher Salary for You
All of that toiling over accomplishment statements, summary bullets, margins, and fonts actually translates into dollars and cents.
As the hiring team discusses salary, they’ll be glancing at your resume, perhaps even comparing it with their job description and with the qualifications of other employees, to see how you measure up. Once again, you won’t be there, but your resume will.
They will feel better about offering more money if the resume instills confidence. Perhaps they’ll need approval from the higher-ups. These rewards are more likely to be earned if you look the part on paper.
Another way to make more money: with a solid resume, you can boost your salary without even interviewing. Bring it to your year-end review at your current job to show all that you’ve done. This will not only remind your boss how good you are, but it will also subtly infer you’re prepared to take your talents elsewhere.
And you didn’t have to say a word. Your resume will do all the talking.
#5: A Well-Written Resume Will Win You Business After You Get the Job
The importance of showcasing a good reputation doesn’t stop after the offer letter.
Customers, partners, investors, and colleagues from other departments may want to get a look at you before making their move. They’ll look you up on social media, through your corporate bio, on your portfolio page. They’ll Google you. If they find your resume in any of these places, they’ll read it, and it will leave an impression.
They’re sure to check you out on LinkedIn.
And what’s the easiest way to make a powerful LinkedIn profile?
From a powerful resume.
It’s worth your time to work on your resume. Instead of making it a necessary evil, make it a golden opportunity. Your resume not only gets you to the interview; it prepares you for it, helps you through it, roots for you afterward, wins you more money, and secures you more business in the long-run.
The rewards are plentiful. The juice is worth the squeeze.
Make sure you look good on paper.