What’s in a value-driven resume?
Updated: Apr 30
According to the job board website, Indeed, “Employers select applicants if their resume is tailored to the job application, which shows that you can perform the duties required by the employer.” More than just listing your skills and work history, an effective resume promotes your past successes and highlights potential accomplishments – or your value proposition to the employer.
Resumes come in many forms, but it’s most important to communicate your value concisely. Like advertising, a resume that is too slick, filled with buzzwords, or doesn’t draw interest isn’t going to get you an interview. To tailor your applications, develop a final template that corresponds to your industry, audience, personality, and goals, and then make changes as needed to fit the prospective role.
As you move forward to create your perfect professional ad, don’t be dismayed by factors outside your control in the recruiting process. Creating an effective resume isn’t the only key to securing a job, but it should get you past the initial screeners and into an interview.
Before you write, consider who (or what) is reading your resume
A variety of readers may view your document. As you construct your resume, your language and approach should reflect how the different audiences will interpret your information.
Computer Screener - database upload to an applicant tracking system
HR Reviewer - people usually unfamiliar with the job requirements, so clarity is important
Hiring Manager – familiar with job lingo, necessary skills, and role fit
Network Contacts and Job Boards - people you know, those in your network, or job boards your resume appears on
Different Kinds of Resumes
Depending on your experience, industry, and audience, there are generally three kinds of resumes:
Reverse Chronological - title-focused with experience listed newest to oldest
Functional - listing skill sets as the key offering
Combination - blended and usually two columns; not generally appropriate for uploading to applicant tracking systems
Reverse chronological resumes are generally the preferred option due to the readability. Functional resumes are an interesting formatting choice; however, recruiters may sometimes believe that this kind of resume is hiding a red flag or a skill gap. It should be noted that combination or two-column resumes do not parse well in many applicant tracking systems.
What’s in a Value-Driven Resume?
Research has shown that reviewers generally spend six seconds on the top one-third of a resume. It’s critical to feature your value proposition, skills, and most recent job at the top portion of your resume. If the reviewer likes what they see, they’ll keep reading.
Many people believe they must keep their resume to one page or that only a specific size text is required. Business News Daily notes that, “Some of those common myths — including your resume can’t be more than one page or it’s OK to have some white lies on your résumé — hold very little water among companies looking to hire employees.”
The reality is that it’s not about the page count but instead how you communicate how you’ll solve the position’s problems. Focusing on one page and cutting out needless words is a good goal, but those with extensive experience will likely have a two-page resume.
Overall, it’s essential to use a resume format suited to your industry, be succinct, and be specific about your value. Here are some examples of sections that may be included in your resume. No matter your experience level, you should include the first four headings listed below. After that, select the ones that best reflect your value.
Header: full name, competencies, phone, email, and LinkedIn profile address
Personal Branding Statement: a summary blending your value proposition and your experience in which you highlight how you resolve issues for the prospective employer
Critical Skills: a list of keywords and phrases that highlight your skill sets, using terminology from job descriptions
Work History: for each position, list the title, company, location, dates of service, job overview, and bullets that show your value
Education: formal education, training, and certifications
Technical Skills: digital skills and industry-specific accomplishments
Awards and Publications: published materials and work/personal accolades
Affiliations: association and organization memberships of interest to an employer
Interests and Insights: adding dimension to the candidate, including non-political hobbies or sports pursuits
Volunteer Activities: leadership and civic efforts that demonstrate community care
Recruiters have indicated to me that they like an overview for each position so that the reader can understand the scope of the business and the applicant’s responsibilities. I generally keep the overview to three lines. Bullets for each position should emphasize how you added value to a company in terms of cost or quantity. It’s also a good idea to remove any experience over 15 years ago. If you need to highlight an older job, use bullets under the heading “Additional Skills” after the work history section.
The Finishing Touches
Developing a resume can be a daunting task. Using prospective job descriptions and the template above, sketch out your resume. Take the time to craft multiple drafts that match the various positions to which you’ll apply. Below you’ll find items to consider in every step of the writing process.
Show Your Value - use action words to describe quantitative accomplishments
Include Soft Skills - employers want a well-rounded employee
Highlight Special Skills - use position descriptions to link your unique skills to the role
Remove Unnecessary Words – with only six seconds for review, keep only relevant words
Proofread and Proofread Again - have other people review for clarity and accuracy
The most important part of a resume is you and how your skills make you the best fit for the position. When I write resumes, I have a copy of job descriptions, key phrases, and a list of action words nearby. Sample action words from The Muse can be seen here.
As a certified career coach, Hillary guides extraordinary people and their personal brands. She’s a career solutionista that helps clients discover their unique worth to find new employment, pivot industries, or move toward cause-oriented work. When Hillary’s not busy coaching amazing people, she rides bikes, learns about wine, cooks for friends, and travels globally with her family. Find out more at www.careersolutionista.com.