What your resume says about you

Monday, July 3rd, 2017 - Resume

This title expresses precisely how I feel each time a project manager or PMO leader tells me a story about their frustrations encountered while trying to create effective and sustainable change, build (or fix) a PMO or deliver projects successfully. I always think to myself…I wish I knew then what I know now.

I’ve made it my mission to share with you everything that I have learned while creating change and building PMOs in both large and small organizations for the last 20 years.

Change isn’t easy, but it CAN be done and done well without pulling your hair out! Projects can achieve their intended outcomes leading to satisfied stakeholders. PMOs can become an integral part of your organization’s high-impact outcomes.

The keys to my success and what I’ve seen in others is not necessarily what you think. You won’t find the answers in the project implementation methodology. The answer is not in the templates you use. It’s in how you engage with people and bring them through the process with you. Do change with them, not to them.

I’m hoping these articles help you along your journey as you continue to evolve and develop skills and techniques to be the high-impact leader you are meant to be.

Please let me know what you think and how I can support you along your journey.

Found out more at ImpactbyLaura.com

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Resumes, I’ve seen a few…

Over the last many years, I would often stand on stage at speaking engagements in the D.C. area and say, “If you’ve been in the job market in the last 15 years, I’ve seen your resume!” I was speaking to project and program managers and PMO leaders, but this applies to ANYONE and EVERYONE that has a resume. Don’t have one? Uh, build one fast! You may need it at any time. It’s best to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it, right?

I spent a LONG time building and running PMOs in the D.C. area, and that meant a lot of staffing. I felt like I constantly had a pile of resumes on my desk and was forever trying to find project and program managers that knew how to Get. It. Done. Recently, I attended an event hosted by the D.C. PMI chapter and helped out by reviewing resumes of candidates looking to meet potential employers. What I saw ranged from outstanding to not so great.

Remember that your resume is often the first introduction you are making to someone, often coming before you get the chance to meet someone face to face and shake their hand. Many people say that the first impression is the one that sticks, so you want to put your best possible first impression forward. Here are some tips to consider when writing or updating your resume:

  1. You have 6 seconds to make an impression. What? Are you kidding me? Apparently not! According to The Ladders, recruiters are making decisions in about 6 seconds on which pile your resume will go into. That’s not long to make an impression; don’t you want it to be a good one? Remember that recruiters and headhunters have about one minute each for a resume first pass screening, especially when they are under a lot of pressure to fill spots. Hand someone your resume and time how fast they need to make a decision on what they read. Did they take away the most important points or were they stuck in your long paragraphs?
  2.  Two pages, no more. I automatically toss out resumes that are more than 2 pages. No, you do not need a five page resume. No one cares as much as you do about all of the details of your experience. I know, you worked hard to get where you are, but that doesn’t mean you have to take the reader on the entire journey of your career. Just cover the highlights and see below for what to include and exclude to help you slim it down. (And for all of you saying, “Yeah, but the government wants every painstaking detail,” fine – keep a longer version, but be very careful where you put it! The rest of the world doesn’t want to read it and I’m fairly certain the recruiters in the government aren’t really reading all of those details anyway.)
  3. Avoid paragraphs. Yuck. No one wants to read those. When I look at a resume, I am looking to see if this person has the ability to communicate effectively and clearly in writing so that I can put them in front of senior executives. If they have the bottom line up front, if they have the ability to tell me the story of their career in short and succinct sentences and bullets, if they can summarize by keeping it to two pages, if they can keep the formatting simple and point me where they want me to look, and if they can present their best self quickly and easily through words, then they are likely to be able to do that with executives.
  4. Include your email, phone number, LinkedIn profile and website (if appropriate). They are going to cyber stalk you. Make it easy for them to do so and point them to the places you want them to learn more about you.
  5. Google yourself. Speaking of cyber stalking, make sure to google yourself and make sure you get anything cleaned up you don’t want seen by a recruiter or hiring manager.
  6. Don’t put your home address. This should be obvious to you by now, but your home address is completely unnecessary on a resume. You can provide the city if you are location specific on your search, but no one needs your home address. If you are not concerned about location, having an address on there could immediately disqualify you because you aren’t local. Remember, once you send that resume out or post it online, it could get anywhere and everywhere. I still have people contacting me that have a resume that is at least a decade old and I have no idea how they got it! It’s an unnecessary safety risk to have your home address easily accessible to others.
  7. Don’t include an objective. Frankly, most recruiters and hiring managers are far more interested in their objectives than yours. You should start with a short few sentence description of yourself, which will tell them “why” they should hire you. Not in a salesy way, but in a way that shows your best you right up front.
  8. Stay away from overused buzz words. Some words have lost their meaning for many recruiters because they are overused. I know, I know, but they are accurate for you. Of course you are results-oriented team player, but so is everyone else according to their resumes. Look for words that uniquely describe you.
  9. Put keywords front and center. These should be above the fold (top half of the page or toward the middle) where people’s eyes will naturally fall. This should include a summary of your certifications and main areas of expertise like business process management, agile project management, PMOs, change management, etc. I like to call this section Areas of proven expertise.
  10. Professional profile. This can be career highlights of what your brand has become in the industry, a summary of how you have benefited organizations through revenue generation.
  11. Volunteer service. If you have board service, definitely list that on the first page. At least make sure it’s on the two pages somewhere. More and more hiring managers seem to be interested in the well-rounded hire that has a life outside of work and gives back to the community. If you need to gain some volunteer experience, I highly recommend checking out PMDoS.org
  12. Use one line only for older, but still relevant positions. I have many PMO positions going back 15 years. I don’t put the details of all of them, but the older ones have a line that lists the title, company, dates, etc. like you would with the first line of your more detailed positions.
  13. Keep the position info to one line. You don’t need one line for the title, one for the company, and one for the dates or location. Just put all that stuff on one line to keep things cleaner. Use bold for the titles and regular text for the rest so that your title stands out on the line.
  14. Unless you don’t have enough work experience, put the education last. Again, I know you worked hard for your various degrees, but they don’t need to be front and center. Nothing beats relevant work experience, so that should be first. You can also save space by putting your certifications with your degrees.
  15. Copy it to your LinkedIn profile. If you don’t have one, get one. Your resume that you’ve cleaned up should be copied over to LinkedIn in that newer format of bullets instead of long paragraphs. LinkedIn has become the most popular resource for recruiters now and it’s where you want to be seen by potential recruiters. It’s the way I’ve gotten my last several jobs and many new clients. Remember all of your activity is there for them to find, so clean up anything you may have added or posted that may not present you in the best light.
  16. Get a good head shot. Since recruiters are often going to LinkedIn first to stalk you, make sure you have a nice professional head shot to present your best and most professional face to them.
  17. Customize the resume for the job. This doesn’t mean you fake it. Your experience should be real. However, you can choose to highlight certain strengths or expertise to fit the specific position you are applying for.
  18. Have someone proofread it. Having another set of eyes on it is always a good idea. You will read it 100 times and keep missing the same word that is either the incorrect spelling or incorrect usage and not even see it. Ask someone to go over it in great detail. You should also let it sit for a day and come back to it to see how it reads once you’ve taken a break.

OK, that’s plenty for now. Writing this post has made me consider hosting a free webinar on this topic to walk people through a sample resume. Hmm…OK, sign up for my newsletter so you can be the first to know when I hold that resume writing webinar in the coming months.

See you online!

Posted on: July 03, 2017 07:59 AM |
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