Heather Coleman-Voss is a DWLN member, partner in Ferndale’s SheHive and the career coach and owner of Career Savvy Coaching, a small business offering training and support in resume development, interview prep, salary negotiation and more. She previously provided some great tips to our readers on how to execute a strong job search.

Given the number of job seekers in the DWLN community, we asked Heather if she could share some more extensive pointers on tailoring a resume so that it’s not only seen but makes a memorable impact — and we wanted to use a real example. Many thanks to the brave reader who shared her resume with us so that Heather could offer some concrete notes! (Details in her resume have been changed to protect anonymity.)

Heather recommends: 

  • In terms of features and layout, exclude any and all templates. Including tables, text boxes, or pre-formatted headers makes your resume unreadable in applicant tracking software. 
  • Every page of your resume should include your name and contact info. 
  • Contact info no longer includes your mailing address – your phone number and email are enough. 
  • And here’s the biggest thing many are still afraid to believe – stop restricting yourself to a one-page resume! If you’re a mid-career professional, two to three pages is totally expected and reasonable.

Further, whether you’re looking for a sales position or not – the resume is often the first place where job seekers get to market themselves to employers. It cannot be a list of what you did at a job. It needs to be an overview of the skills you’ve developed throughout your work history and what you’ve accomplished so far in your career. So, if you’re simply listing previous job duties on your resume, it’s time to switch things up.

Heather suggests the following sections appear at the very top of your resume:

“The resume should have a professional summary highlighting the value you bring to the position and the areas of expertise the employer needs that you possess,” Heather says. “The summary section should also mention the specific position and organization to which you’re applying.”

Heather Coleman-Voss

Heather further recommends that you call out your expertise on the resume in a way that will be recognized by digital applicant tracking systems that companies use for hiring. Specifically, “highlight as many areas of expertise or skills that you have – which the company is asking for in the job description. Remember, the applicant tracking system is scanning for keywords as well as the number of times those keywords show up.”

Soft skills like time management, critical thinking and communication belong in the Values and Attributes section. Career Highlights should be an overview of quantitative or noteworthy accomplishments like, sales numbers and most recent or most prestigious publications and awards.

On that note, Heather says, “Whenever possible, list numbers and percentages” in the descriptions of your accomplishments at past jobs. Numbers may be relevant to engagement growth you achieved on social media platforms, deals you closed, efficiencies created or even clients no longer needing your support due to the strength of your service.

If you’re wondering about the education section like we did, don’t. Heather says that should be at the bottom.

Finally, complete your LinkedIn page and put it to use! Post updates about your professional projects and accomplishments to your LinkedIn feed. Engage with your LinkedIn community about their work. Show what kind of team member organizations can expect in the way you communicate on that site. Also, consider creating a LinkedIn Recommendation section at the bottom of your resume. According to Heather, “It takes the place of ‘recommendations available upon request’ and is a great visual, creative break for the eye.”

Find Heather via her website, careersavvycoaching.com, and follow her on Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

Courtney Wise Randolph is a native Detroiter and freelance writer with a heart for people and their stories. She is the host of COVID Diaries: Stories of Resilience, a 2020 project between WDET and Documenting Detroit which won an Edward R. Murrow Award for Excellence in Innovation. Get in touch at @shes_cwise...

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