As the leading resource for HR & payroll professionals looking for a new position, Willory has seen our fair share of resumes. And as we go through resumes there are things that make some stand out more than others – which is, after all the point of a resume. A resume first and foremost should separate you from the crowd and aid in landing an interview, so let’s take a look at some things you could be doing:
Content is king. Inevitably each job posting attracts hundreds of resumes. As the hiring manager or recruiter sifts through all of these HR and payroll resumes, there is only a limited amount of time that can and is spent reviewing, or in some cases skimming, each one. Your differentiators, skills, and talents need to be apparent and stand out. Your accomplishments, not past job duties, are more pertinent and persuasive. Don’t forget to use action verbs as you craft your resume!
Presentation. Yes, you are an HR and/or payroll professional and not a marketing guru – but that doesn’t mean you don’t have to be exact and precise. This includes the formatting, consistency, and accuracy of your resume. If you have typos, what does that say about your attention to detail and the job you will do?
Critically important: your resume should be arranged in a manner that is easy to review. This includes choosing whether your resume is presented functionally (great for people newer to the workforce) or chronologically to tell a story of career development. Most often the best resumes combine both.
When considering how long your resume should be, remember that your resume is not meant to be an autobiography – it is a tool to market you to the specific HR or payroll position you are aiming for. Your resume should also contain some “white space,” meaning that the page(s) shouldn’t be too packed with information that the reviewer is overwhelmed.
Quantify your HR and payroll results. It may not be as easy as being a sales person to quantify results on a resume, but as HR and payroll professionals there are many instances where you can get specific. Quantify efficiencies gained, money saved, and even employee retention and your contributions. You know your value – tout it! Showing that you’ve made good use of your time at another job helps employers visualize what you can do for them. Using quantifiable information in your resume instantly helps set it apart.
You are more than your job(s). Resume real estate is precious, but make sure you highlight any education and volunteer work that has helped develop your skills. Include trade organization involvement, professional awards, recognitions or accomplishments. Use this area to show your ambitions, especially if you feel as if your resume doesn’t convey this.
Your personality. As we’ve mentioned, your resume is competing with dozens if not hundreds of other HR and payroll professionals’ resumes. Without being unprofessional, find ways to provide a glimpse into who you are. This doesn’t mean sharing that you are a cat lover or love to swim in Lake Erie, but rather be memorable. This can be accomplished with a concise and creative personal objective that is customized for each job, highlighting key moments in your career that are unique to you, or even providing a (professional) writing style/tone that reflects your work style. If you are collaborative emphasize words like “teamwork.” If you are more of an entrepreneurial self-starter… say that!
Remember to keep your resume updated, even if you aren’t job hunting. You never know when a perfect opportunity may come up or if you will need it to apply for a trade organization. It’s a lot easier to keep a resume up-to-date as you go than to fret over it when you need an updated version.