Contrary to popular belief, a resume is not a static document that merely outlines your professional background, but a living document that should tell an engaging story of your career experiences and accomplishments. And because it’s not uncommon for hiring managers to receive hundreds of resumes for an open position, you need to make sure that your resume makes a positive and lasting impression.
One worry for cancer survivors who have taken time off from work for treatment and recovery is that they may have gaps on their resume; but there are ways to avoid having those breaks become the “lasting impression.” A recent article on The Muse website offers great advice on how to craft your resume to catch an employer’s eye and increase the chances that it will be remembered for all the right reasons.
Start with a Summary or Skills Section: A smart way to begin your resume is with a summary statement of your career highlights that shows how your professional background is relevant to the job you’re applying for. If it’s early in your career and you don’t yet have a lot of work experience, consider adding a skills section to the top of your resume, so that hiring managers will then view the rest of your resume with your skill set in mind.
Add a Unique Section: Breaking away from the standard chronological resume format might make your resume stronger. If you have had a non-traditional career path, dividing your work experience into sections such as “Sales Experience” and “Design Experience” might give it more structure. It will also help you to better tell your story — and will make it easier for the reader to follow your varied work experience.
Rethink Your Less-Relevant Experience: Don’t forget that your resume should always be tailored to the specific position for which you are applying. The first bullet point under each of the prior jobs you list should give a succinct overview of that role; the subsequent bullet points should highlight any transferable skills. For example, if a previously held position was in human resources but now you’re a Project Manager, you’ll want to point out the organizational skills you acquired while in the HR role.
Once you’ve written it, if you want a professional’s eye and feedback, submit it to our free Resume Review Service; one of our career coaches will read it through and send you customized suggestions on ways to improve it.
Our archived Job Search webinar from our Balancing Work & Cancer webinar series is another great resource for resume tips!