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I’ve been coaching lots of folks on updating their resumes these days. A few tips from a hiring manager’s perspective: (1) Lead with what impact you had in each job. Increased revenue 5%? Saved 4 months of effort? This tells me you’re able to get things done. (1/?)
2. Describe the skills you used to accomplish that, starting with what’s generalizable. Don’t tell me you adhered to FDA process XYZ; tell me you figured out and addressed exacting regulatory requirements (such as FDA XYZ). If I’m not in your industry, that means more. (2/?)
3. Focus your CV on showing you have the skills to do the job you want; don’t just list every irrelevant responsibility you’ve ever had. Your aim is to help me imagine you filling the open positions I have. (3/?)
4. If you’re going to add a laundry list of skills and tools, put it at the bottom. These can actually be useful in getting you through a big company’s HR filters, but they don’t help you stand out. (4/?)
5. Speaking of standing out, a cover letter is a great place to do this. Don’t just repeat your CV. Tell me why you think you’re a good fit for THIS job (so I can tell you’re not just resume-spamming). Tell a personal story—be memorable. (5/?)
And being memorable matters, because managers are looking through dozens (if not hundreds) of applications. You have about 2 minutes to make a first impression, so, #6, write and format for skimming. No tiny type, no long, meandering sentences full of passive voice. (6/7)
And finally, although you want to highlight the right things, do be honest about what you’re good at, what you need to learn, and what you value. If a company doesn’t want you for who you are, it’s not a good use of your time anyway.
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