The Alchemist's Lair
Thoughts on writing, language, life as a freelancer,
and what comes to mind.
and what comes to mind.
Do you grin hysterically every time someone asks for your resume? Are you stuck with a lame shopping list-style layout that screams for vengeance every time you look at it?
Preparation (up to 1 hour)
Before you start tweaking your resume, make sure it is focused, truthful, and relevant.
If your document is seriously outdated (or a patchwork of last minute changes made over 5 years) align the content to your current role, and the needs of your target markets.
... and now for the hacks.
#1 Create a letterhead (5 minutes)
Letterheads are a great way to personalise a resume.
Plus, they make your name and contact information stand out on the page.
To maximise the impact, add your logo and slogan.
Also, make sure that colours and fonts are consistent with your brand image.
Need some inspiration? Browse this massive collection of 300+ free templates.
#2 Increase font size (2 minutes)
This isn't just about improved readability - even though it is important.
Whether you're using a 1 or 2 page layout, it will also force you to be more concise.
#3 Craft an eye-catching introduction (30 minutes)
When you're a freelancer, you're looking for customers - not employers.
Hence, your resume should be the opening act of a conversation with your prospect.
A good way to achieve this is crafting a brief introduction (no bullet points!) to highlight the skills and talents your customer looks for, and suggest why you'd be a good fit for their projects and needs.
Write it in first person, singular. Also, keep it brief: a couple of paragraphs would do.
#4 Cut 10% off (up to 1 hour)
I already mentioned this trick in a post about effective business writing - and stick to it.
Even though cutting 100 words off a 1,000 resume might not sound as a "big deal", it usually is. It helps you focus on what's important, and get rid of typical "fillers".
Need some help? Read 5 ways to trim the fat from your writing on PR Daily.
#5 Revise one section at a time (10 minutes)
Yet another trick from my copywriter's toolbox. This hack is especially useful because it forces you to assess its effectiveness and clarity as a stand-alone item.
#6 Tweak the layout (20 minutes)
Here's the thing: your freelance resume is a marketing tool.
If it looks like any other resume on earth, standing out becomes more difficult.
Have fun exploring layout options. You can e.g
Make it shine ... with a pinch of salt. Your resume look needs to be professional and sober.
#7 Use numbers and real-life examples (10 minutes)
Numbers are a great way to showcase your skills and experience. Not only they stand out from the sea of words; they also support claims with quantifiable (and verifiable) results.
Need some examples?
What are the most challenging aspects of working on your resume?
Got any good tips to share? Join the conversation in the comments below!