Writing a resume: Four tips in a hyper-competitive job market
Writing a resume should be simple, right? It’s not. This document is supposed to be a split-second representation of you and your career. While working with a recruitment professional, who has a greater understanding of the insurance industry’s major verticals and players is advantageous, having all your proverbial ducks in a row isn’t a bad idea.
Enhancing every point of contact you have available, if anything, increases your chance of being noticed—so let’s work on being noticed for the right things.
Writing a resume is about personal marketing. You are interested in working for a company. Why? You looked them up. You did your research. You found messaging and testimonials that formed an image in your head. You picture their company culture and think, “I would like to work there.” Top companies brand themselves to attract the best candidates the market has to offer. The opposite is also true.
You are talented, intelligent, driven and will bring a significant contribution to any team of which you are a part. You add value. Your personal branding statement should illustrate this by showing anyone reading it you are a capable problem solver, with examples tailored to each position you are applying for. Be specific.
Education is about relevance
Education is incredibly important during potential candidate consideration. However, when writing a resume, we need to position our most relevant experiences to be the most visible. If you’re currently writing a resume and your educational experiences are no longer relevant to the current position you are seeking, these experiences should be given less prominence, in favor of more current classes applicable to your future career.
Now, if you haven’t taken any of these classes, there are plenty of free options for continued learning offered by private companies and accredited universities alike. Yale, Harvard, and a host of other universities and organizations offer business, finance, negotiation and various other relevant sections that will help any candidate bolster their resume’s educational potency.
How will you be effective?
Part of highlighting your skill set is telling a story. Sure, you are an effective communicator, but how in previous positions has that skill helped you add value to the organization? How did being able to clearly transfer ideas and instruction allow you to help others do their jobs better? Writing a resume should be more than writing a list—it should tell your professional story.
Often, we see candidates list their positions only without clarification. The issue with this method is, for every position, there are a multitude of effective and ineffective approaches. Let’s say you were a manager of some kind. There are a multitude of ways to be a manager. What methods did you employ to be an effective leader? Try emphasizing your strengths through actionable phrasing that illustrates you were interested in developing teams, growing a business, achieving goals, creating usable knowledge, creating platforms for future success. All of this verbiage firmly plants your skills in actions and, as a result, points to added value.
Data paints a picture
Along with language that clearly shows action, specific data to show how those actions were effective can be really telling. Many people can say they were part of a team that did this or that, but to have your name directly associated with quantifiable results is noticeable and very difficult to ignore.
When writing a resume, when you are trying to make a document as powerful as possible, providing hard evidence of your abilities to be a catalyst for positive and verifiable change goes a long way. Think about it like this. We all have written some sort of paper or report in school. You could write one hundred pages, but if you don’t list your sources you probably fail. A resume can be a first step in building a professional relationship. Providing data that illustrates your potential in a concrete way to establish trust that will serve you in your future position and career.
At The James Allen Companies, we provide access to growing and innovative insurance organizations. We want our candidates to present themselves in the most effective ways possible. If you are seeking a career change or to enhance your career possibilities in the insurance space, let us know.