A good resume writer, like a skillful storyteller, knows when to leave something unsaid, but still communicate the idea effectively. He or she also knows how to avoid contradicting what was said with the way it was said.
Position your resume a cut above the crowd by paying attention to what you can and should leave out. Far too many candidates include in their list of qualifications descriptions that are desirable yet commonplace in professional positions. Some examples include:
- “Good communicator”
- “Team player”
- “A passion for games”
- “Honest, hard worker”
There’s no need to list a quality that should be a given for someone at your experience level, unless it is called out specifically in the job requirements. (Granted, sometimes employers list a requirement that should be a given, and it may be because they’re paying close attention to that quality during this hiring round. Go ahead and state the obvious in that case, but back it up with examples as well).
As a rule of thumb, it is far more effective to demonstrate how you embody those qualities through the achievements you list for past positions, or even through the way you present yourself via the resume itself. In other words, go for examples instead of general claims, and be careful that the way you present yourself on paper doesn’t say one thing, but show another. Consider the list of following qualities, and our examples for how you might follow the old adage, “Show, don’t tell,” while still doing enough “telling” that your point gets made.
|“Good Communication Skills”||The most blaring yet overlooked example of this skill will be the resume itself. Do your language and vocabulary measure up to that of someone who could handle the job to which you’re applying?Additionally, consider listing an achievement or job activity that refers to delivering communication of a critical or sensitive nature to others to whom you reported, or who reported to you. For additional strength, define how that communication benefited the project from a business standpoint.|
|“Attentive to detail”||Once again, start with attending to the resume document. The last thing you want after you’ve asserted that you’re attentive to detail is for someone to spot some sloppiness and think “Oh, really?” Check to see if your margins and tabs are straight, and your punctuation is consistent throughout.Of equal importance, be sure to list enough specifics in your resume that a recruiter or employer can easily match those against their requirements. If most of your information is generalized and vague, you’ve not adequately demonstrated attention to detail.|
|“Organized”||Let the layout and arrangement of your resume information serve as the first reflection of your organized nature. The same goes for your cover letter and any other contact the hiring manager has with you. In fact, “good communication” and “attention to detail” also should come across during any of the ways you will interact with potential employers.To demonstrate organization in your past performance at work, highlight an example of how you contributed to a smoother work-flow on a project, or increased efficiency in meeting your own deadlines.|
|“Team player”||You can’t rely much on your resume formatting or organization to demonstrate what an awesome team player you are. However, it could be conveyed quite effectively by referring to accomplishments in which you may have sacrificed personal gains or recognition in order to assist the team in meeting its goals. In this case, you’re highlighting the team’s accomplishment rather than your own, but still pointing out your role as an integral contributor.|
Lastly, you can omit the phrase “References Available on Request” outright. Of course a list of stellar references will be immediately provided when and if the employer asks you for them! Including something this obvious is an entry-level faux-pas that went out of style decades ago.
In summary, if you want to highlight your personal qualities, focus on the ones that set you apart from most people. There’s no need to point out that you have the same qualities that every other candidate who applies for the position should have. If anything, you can create a stronger impression by describing examples of your abilities to organize, pay attention to detail, work well in groups, and communicate effectively. Just be careful that a sloppily executed resume doesn’t spoil that impression.
For rock-solid results, contact us for assistance. Mary-Margaret Network provides an array of professional resume services designed specifically for the interactive entertainment industry. We can equip you with effective cover letters and LinkedIn profiles as well.