When writing a resume, many folks just put all the things they have done in the past to paper and never give it a second thought. Those same folks often end up on the wrong side of adventure in the world of other job seekers. Everyone is the hero of their own life story. Problems arise in the realm of business, and only the right person for the job will do. They need a hero; are you ready to answer the call to glory and daring exploits?
Your resume is in essence a character sheet for you, like in a game of Dungeon’s and Dragons or character stats in an MMORPG game. It shows your skills, your experience and other important attributes that are integral to getting the right job for you. The Hiring Manager (AKA: Dungeon Master) uses these pages to assess whether someone is the right fit for a job, rolls some dice, and sets adventurous job seekers on their path to riches, fame and honor. If your resume is all over the place with unnecessary information it’s possible, even likely, that it simply gets tossed aside and forgotten. No one deserves to be banished to the dark realms. Follow these steps, and you too can start your own quest as the fine upstanding hero.
Step 1: Choose a Class – Warrior, Wizard, Scribe or Thief?
First thing you should always know before starting your adventure as an intrepid job seeker is to choose a class. Are you a warrior, forged through years of battle that left your homeland to find fortune? A capricious thief and master of stealth? Maybe you are a mighty wizard, wizened by years of study, with a compendium of spells that make even the most impossible of tasks seem like an afterthought as you bend reality to your will? The possibilities are endless.
The most important thing to remember when choosing your class is to highlight it throughout the resume. Often times, this is represented in the very headline of your resume. Are you a sales executive? Are you an administrative assistant? An office manager perhaps? Whatever the general title of what it is you do, you must show that throughout the resume with skills that relate to that. There are certain elements each “Class” considers to be necessary skills in the eyes of the Dungeon Master. If that is not present on your character sheet, it’s obvious you won’t get the job. What kind of wizard can’t cast spells? What kind of sales consultant can’t talk to people?
These are the type of things you must consider when writing a resume. Pick a focus and run with it for the type of job you really want to get. If you want to be the party thief, you had better show that you know how to pick locks and lurk in the shadows!
Step 2: Character Background and Skills
Every hero has a story, and so should you! This is represented on your resume with your cover letter. Here you tell them, in no uncertain terms, why you are the best candidate for the job. It should all tie back to your Class, but more importantly, this is where you explain what you can do for them. Your resume and cover letter, while concerning you, are not about you. Both of these tools are about what you can do for others, and should be treated as such.
Your skills are your top attributes. Again, these should relate to your Class. All thieves should know how to sneak, all warriors should know how to swing a sword, and all Administrative Assistants should know how to use Microsoft Office. If you list a bunch of skills that have nothing to do with your actual ability or your Class, you only hurt yourself by bogging down your resume with irrelevant information. Stick with not only what you know, but what is also relevant for the job.
Step 3: Experience Points
Lastly, lets discus experience. In games, it is vital for improving your character’s ability in their particular skill set. This is usually represented with a numerical points. In life, you don’t really get that luxury. If you hand a resume over to the HR department and it contains “500,000 XP – Employee Level 13” it is highly unlikely you will get any calls back (unless, of course, it’s a Federal job for a G6 or higher).
That’s not to say experience points don’t belong on your resume. Rather, your experience points take the form of accomplishments you achieved in previous jobs and even the previous jobs themselves. If you have been working at a company for three years and want to move into a new company, don’t take it for granted that the Dungeon Master knows your accomplishments from a different department.
Many folks list their responsibilities at each position, which is good, but you can do one better. When writing your employment history, phrase things so that they show actual achievements in the job. For example, “Responsible for shipping and receiving” is bland and weak, whereas, “Shipped packages all over the globe and received inventory for 5,000 square foot warehouse” demonstrates things in a measurable and unique way that is sure to capture the attention of the hiring manager.
Don’t forget experience points gained through your education, special certifications, awards, organizations and specialized training. All of these things add into your collective “Experience Level” in a way that is measurable to the HR department and managers alike.
Step 4: Slay the Dragons
Looking at your resume in this light, you can see the importance of targeting your resume in your chosen field. We all want to be the hero in our own story. With these tools, you can slay the dragon, save the kingdom and get the job you really want.