If your work history reads like a series of HR job descriptions, ask yourself these questions about each position:
- Was it a new position?
- If so, why was it created? What was the need that justified the salary?
- If it was an existing position, how did you do things differently than your predecessors?
- What was the climate in your department when you arrived? How did it change during the time you were there?
- What obstacles did you face? How did you overcome them?
- What other impacts did you have?
- Did the job evolve, even if there was no formal promotion? Did that evolution increase your value to the organization?
Then ask yourself questions about the individual bullet items in your resume.
- For each bullet item, ask yourself, “So what?”
Let’s say you’re an HR trainer, and you developed a career advancement program for managers. So what? Well, maybe that resulted in 90% of managers being promoted in your division, compared to 80% in other divisions. Now you have the makings of a much more impressive bullet point.
Don’t be daunted if not every question leads to material you can add to the resume. When I write resumes for clients, I ask maybe 50 questions or more, and if half of them lead to great material we’re doing really well!
Here are some other great questions to ask yourself:
- What unique strengths and skills make me a better candidate than others?
- Do those show up in my resume?
- Do they show up in the first 20 seconds, or only if I patiently read the whole thing?
- What’s the first impression my resume makes, and why?
If you’re shopping for a resume writer, find out how they will ask questions. Will their work be entirely based on a written questionnaire, or will they interview you and discuss your answers? Many people find that a more conversational process leads to better communication and better results.
Great resumes are made from great questions!