Resume time. We’ve all been there. The dreaded sigh as you crank up the pot of coffee late night to start, tweak or completely redo the resume. Whether you are searching for your first job or have been working for awhile, there’s something tedious and stressful about updating it. What’s the right format? What do I highlight? How do I stand out?
There are so many questions to answer. And while what makes a resume great is certainly subjective, below are some of the tips I’ve learned about writing a resume if you want to work in social/digital.
1- Watch your length.
If you work in the industry or want to, you should know this: Attention spans are short these days and time is valuable. It’s why we omit needless words and keep our copy short and sweet. The same applies for resume writing. As you work through your bullet points and format, be conscious of how long your content is. I’m a big believer in sticking to one page, but that rule is only mandatory if you’ve been working a couple years. As you go in your career and build upon your experience, focus on quality over quantity to make sure the length is as succinct as possible.
If you work in social you should be able to communicate in 140 characters. Brevity, my friends, is key.
2- Relevancy is what matters.
At one point in my career I had the privilege of reviewing resumes for a postgraduate internship. As I poured through the stacks, I saw resumes that were four pages long and dated all the way back to high school jobs as a cashier at Walmart. These were smart, talented kids who got bogged down in an information dump.
Here’s the thing though: More information on your resume doesn’t make you more qualified. Just as we touched on in the first point, quality over quantity is key. Being a cashier has no relevancy to working in social, so you should absolutely cut it.
If you’re a first-time job seeker that lacks truly relevant, real-word experience, focus on your classes, projects and writing. Hone in on the skills you developed in college versus the hourly job with no relevance.
For experienced professionals who want to switch to social media (and currently don’t work in the industry), it’s important to focus on the skillsets you have that would be valuable in the role. If I’m looking to hire someone in social that doesn’t have industry experience per say, that’s okay as long as they showcase their communication skills, creative ability, passion to learn, ability to produce content, etc.
And finally, if you’ve been in the industry awhile, don’t keep roles on your resume simply to fill up whitespace. Take more real estate with the jobs that are relevant and omit the ones that don’t add much value.
3- Sell yourself, not your job.
This is one I can’t stress enough: Your resume should not be a copy and paste of your job description and/or classwork. If you work in social media, there are certain assumptions hiring managers can make about the roles you have had. Don’t tell the hiring manager you managed a calendar; tell them how you have helped affect process. Don’t tell the hiring manager that you managed accounts; tell them how you grew the community x percent by doing x. Don’t tell the hiring manager that you manage the creative; tell them how you helped influence a content strategy that drove x amount of engagement.
A job description won’t do you justice if you want to work in this industry. Use strong action verbs and showcase numbers wherever you can. Your resume is about selling yourself, so do it and do it well.
4- Link to work.
The work that we do in social media is public, so don’t be afraid to highlight it on your resume. It’s often the best selling point you can have. Where applicable, link to the accounts you manage, campaigns you’ve run, content you’ve produced, etc. on your resume or in a portfolio. Seeing your work (or projects if you’re a student) will be a lot more powerful than simply telling the hiring manager about it.
5- Be creative, but not crazy.
Hiring managers often have to flip through thousands of resumes, so you do need to stand out. When it comes to your resume design, it’s important to standout and be creative… but it doesn’t mean you have to go crazy. This is a creative industry, so create a resume that reflects your personality but won’t detract from the bulk of your work. Here’s an outdated example of the format I use. It’s different enough to stand out from the rest without going overboard (as some people will be more traditional).
6- Promote personal accounts, that make sense.
If I’m looking to hiring someone for a social media role, I want to know that they are active on social media platforms. That said, people applying for social media jobs often feel pressure to to promote every single social media account they have, even if they are more personal in nature. That’s not necessary. Stick to the ones you use professionally, like Twitter or LinkedIn that will highlight your writing, ability to connect with people, etc. Hiring managers will often seek out your other accounts, but if you use them strictly for personal, it doesn’t mean you have to highlight them. Even as someone who works in social, it’s important to highlight the ones that put your best foot forward professionally. A few links to accounts will help me understand if you “get” it.
What resume tips have you learned along the way? Share them below!
Thanks for reading.