Your resume is your best foot forward, right? So let’s make it really work for you - make you really stand out among a sea of qualified candidates. There's one simple update that can do that: highlighting your impact. Yep, it's time to ditch that exhaustive list of duties and opt for a better explanation of how you’ve made a real impact on every organization you’ve worked with. There are many ways to make a splash, even before you land those interviews. Let’s get into them!
Focus on how you impact the company and market
You probably already have a list of all the skills you performed at your job—it might even be how your current resume is laid out. The next step is to reposition those descriptions as result-driven. Here’s an example: instead of “wrote copy for digital ads” or “developed the design and UX for the company’s app”, reposition these skill-based statements to showcase the outcome. “Wrote copy across digital ads that increased customer engagement online by 80%” or “Developed an app store that contributed to 90% more sales in its debut weekend.” Looking back on your time working, think about what your skills directly brought to the table and focus there.
Include statistics in bullet points
Numbers and statistics undeniably prove how impactful your efforts were. More examples: "Designed new email templates that resulted in 50% growth of CTA clicks" or "Concepted and designed a multi-platform social media campaign that received 125% increase in sales." No one can deny that those two designers were game changers for those companies. The challenge with stats? You may not have easy access to them. That's why we recommend keeping track of them while you’re working a role. Try to gather metrics on your work from your management and your peers. Sometimes you’ll get them through quarterly status emails or you may have to ask people on specific teams, but taking interest in your company’s success is a good thing. Plus it’ll strengthen ties with your peers, showing them how you value the kinds of analytics they do daily. If you no longer work together, reconnect, and gather what you can while offering them any insights that you bring to the table. Which takes us to...
Include how you impact your teams
Reframe your current skills to reflect interpersonal changes you helped make in your previous roles. The outer world might not know how you helped develop an entirely new method of managing projects for your team, started a mentor program for employees of color, or led peers in transitioning to using new design software, but these skills matter. Speak on them! New employers want to know that you’re an innovator amongst your coworkers, too.
Tailor your resume to the job at hand
Designers probably know where we’re going with this one. Similar to any good design portfolio, you want to include the information that attracts the type of work you actually want to do. Reframe your past work by highlighting the skills you already know are required for your future work. For example, if the job description is asking for someone with managerial experience and you want to continue in that kind of role, highlight how your skills in managing led to success on past teams. Does this mean you might have multiple versions of your resume? Yep. But isn’t it worth it if you land the job you want? Absolutely.
Play with better layouts
Along with all the results you’re presenting, a better layout can impact how easily the reader can scan and take in all your amazingness. Not a designer? Partner with an old design friend and either hire them to reformat your resume or swap your skills for theirs.
Finally, the no-no’s
- Nix the jargon
It’s 2021 and people want to work with down-to-earth people. Just because it sounds smart and you know a lot of acronyms, doesn’t mean the reader will necessarily understand them. Find simple, straightforward, and specific ways to describe your results and speak plainly about them in interviews.
- Leave out skills you never want to do again
Did you loathe writing SEO wordclouds? Is retouching really not your thing? Take those experiences out of your resume - for good. Also, maybe don’t apply for jobs that require these kinds of skills and focus on the things you’d prefer to do in your new roles.
- Remove anything older than ten years
You can speak to your origins briefly in interviews, if asked. Otherwise, focus on your most recent roles. Feel really strongly about keeping something older than 10 years? Yea, rules are meant to be broken. Write a quick summary of the experience and why it's still relevant.
Need more help?
We created a handy guide for resume writing. And, as always, we’re around if you want to partner with a recruiter to land your next gig.