Three Questions to Create a Better Resume

When updating your resume, job seekers seem to default to discussing duties and responsibilities and often neglect highlighting significant accomplishments and relevant skills. One way to combat writer’s block is to start the process by asking yourself self-reflective prompts to help you recall stories that showcase your unique work history. Keep your content focused to ensure you include information that will show the employer how you could potentially help their organization.

Here are three questions to ask yourself to create a more impactful resume:

What problems do I solve?
Reflecting on this question pulls you away from listing day-to-day work tasks and redirects you to thinking about why those tasks are important in the first place. For example, I could simply state that I “provided career advising to students,” but I leave it to the reader to infer what problem I am solving. Instead I could enhance the statement to include “why” by writing that I “provided career advising to students to assist them with achieving career objectives.”

What solutions did I come up with or help implement?
Keep in mind that most work environments require teamwork. This means you do not necessarily need to only include examples where you were the mastermind and/or sole contributor to the implementation of a solution. Everyone likes a team player, so explain how your skills contributed to the process.

What goals did I accomplish and how?
You may have knocked your goals out of the park but, what you did to get there is your unique journey. Share the how to showcase your core competencies in relevant skill or knowledge areas. This will give the reader some insights on the level of difficulty and the challenges you had to overcome.

If you feel like you are boasting and it makes you feel a little uncomfortable, it means you are on the right track to enhancing your resume. An employer will not know how awesome you are unless you share specific details surrounding your unique career story.

For more guidance on your resume, visit CareerQuest to take advantage of tools like VMock and Resunate. To connect with the UMUC Career Services Office, call 240-684-2720 or email careerservices@umuc.edu.

Cathy Francois, MBA, GCDF, is a career advising specialist and adjunct instructor at University of Maryland University College and a certified Global Career Development Facilitator. She has a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from the University of Florida and a Master of Business Administration from Kaplan University. Cathy’s career began in advertising sales and customer service, after which she transitioned into higher education, working as an admissions advisor. She also served as an academic advising and career services for over seven years. Cathy has a passion for helping people succeed and uses her diverse experience and interpersonal skills to bring a personalized approach to career coaching.