Don’t miss out on Susan Landon’s advice and tips on writing a great resume for women in the workplace! Overcome bragging and accomplishment angst. Go for it!
By Susan Landon
Everyone knows that, once you’ve decided to look for a new job and have an idea of what you want to do, the first step is writing a great resume. No one thinks this is a fun and easy task, but for women in the workplace, writing a great resume, can be harder than it is for men.
But why is this? Women in the workplace have accomplished as much (or more!) than their male counterparts, so why would it be so hard to write a great resume? It comes down to our orientation as women – those messages we have heard since we were young. And this is especially true for Latinas, as Mariela Dabbah explains in her book Find Your Inner Red Shoe: Step Into Your Own Style of Success. Most of us have been taught that it’s good to be humble, that we shouldn’t brag or talk about how great we are, that we should share credit for any successes. But listening to these messages makes it very hard to write a great resume.
So what to do? It starts with being aware that this may be what’s stopping you. Think about whether these messages, or others that are similar, were ingrained in you from childhood. And if they were, then you must consciously try to ignore them, at least for a while so you can write a great resume. Try to put any humble thoughts out of your mind and brag, brag, brag. Ask a friend who knows you well to help you think of all the terrific things you have done. And banish from your mind thoughts like, “It wasn’t really that great,” “I only played a small role,” and “Others did more than I did.” When you’re trying to write a great resume, it’s no time to put yourself down or share the glory.
Once you’re in the right mindset, it becomes much easier to identify the accomplishments you want to highlight, which is the most important thing for women who want to write a great resume.
Tips on writing a great resume for women in the workplace
But no blog post about writing a great resume would be complete without a few guidelines on format. So here they are:
Don’t try to squeeze everything on one page by using a tiny font and eliminating margins. Leave white space for ease of reading and to enable the reader to write comments.
- On the other hand, don’t go over two pages. Resume readers spend only six to ten seconds on a resume. (Yes, I said, “seconds”). Don’t minimize your chances by writing a novella.
- Unless your company is super well known (like Google, Apple, or Disney), include a short description of the company, including revenues, so your reader can put you in context (E.g.: $800 million, publicly traded manufacturer of office furniture).
Include specific, quantifiable accomplishments. How many people were on the team you led? How much revenue did your program generate? Etc.
- Include keywords, so your resume has a greater chance of being selected by the program reviewing resumes. Find the keywords on the job description, and be sure to sprinkle them liberally throughout your resume.
- Proofread, proofread, proofread. And then proofread again. And have one or two trusted friends proofread also. This is the document that represents you to a prospective employer. There is no room for misspellings or grammar and punctuation mistakes. If English isn’t your first language, then make sure that someone who speaks English as their first language does the review. This applies even if you think your English is prefect.
If you follow these format tips, and you put yourself in a frame of mind to brag and be proud of your accomplishments, you will very soon have a great resume that will help you land the job you deserve. Let me know if you have any questions or concerns I can address, and good luck on your search!
Susan Landon, Managing Partner New York, Alexander Hughes Executive Search Consultants