Do You Have A “Tombstone” Resume?

The best resumes, the ones that will get a hiring manager’s attention, are marketing documents. They are designed to sell you (the product) to a potential employer (the buyer).

They are not laundry lists of responsibilities. They are not boring employment histories. They don’t include every job you’ve ever had or every single thing you’ve done during your career.

That style of resume is sometimes called a “Tombstone” resume because it is directed towards the past, not the future.

Your future.

When you’re putting together your resume keep these 5 things in mind.

1) Your resume is a marketing tool. It’s not an employment history or a job application. While you should never lie or succumb to gross exaggeration, you should also frame the content in a way that sells you to a potential employer.

2) Generally, there’s no need to go back more than 10 to 15 years in your career history. Employers are most interested in your current or most recent position and possibly the one before that. So focus most of your attention, and the space on your resume, on your most recent position.

3) Focus on the future rather than the past. This means highlighting the skills and abilities you want to use in your target position. For example, if you have a variety of marketing experience but want to work in digital marketing, feature your digital marketing expertise.

4) In most cases, eliminate dated professional development activities unless they are particularly important to your target position or industry. For example, an educator who has completed D.A.R.E. training will want to include that even if it was a decade ago.

5) Before you begin, have a target position. If you are interested in fundraising for a nonprofit and planning corporate events pick one. While some people want to have a “general” resume that includes everything they’ve done. A resume with no direction won’t get you far.

Once you are finished writing your resume evaluate it with the “so what?” factor in mind. You may have put new employee engagement initiatives in place, but what difference did it make? This is the type of question you need to ask yourself when reviewing your resume. You can be sure employers will want to know.