Be prepared

How do you protect yourself and your family in uncertain economic times like today’s?

Be prepared.

This week, I’ll suggest updating your resume as an effective, achievable step towards being prepared for the unknown.

Forces far more powerful than you are knocking the economy around right now. You have no idea whether your current employer will make it through unscathed, or if your job will be a casualty of the present crisis. Surprises happen.

The best step for you to be prepared this week is to update your resume. Whether that’s by using our free resume reviewer, buying our bestselling resume book on Amazon, or getting one of our partners to rewrite your resume for you, the best way to protect yourself is to be prepared.

In today’s newsletter, I’ll review my suggestions, based on almost 20 years of research and experience here at Ladders, for the best resume format for 2020: the “High Score” resume format. Particularly in this environment, with so many people out of work so suddenly, competition for open roles is fiercer than ever. In order to stand out, having a resume that shows you at your best, and highlights your capabilities in a clear, easy-to-read, easy-to-follow format is the most effective approach.

The High Score resume format ensures that your resume shares the “high scores” you’ve reached and the achievements you’ve unlocked throughout your career. It is a format that enables you to present yourself in the most effective way possible without worrying about bragging. And it provides hiring managers and recruiters concrete proof of what you’re capable of.

For your work experience, you’ll describe your past experience as a string of personal bests. All high scores have numbers — that way, it’s easier for people to understand how good you were at Tetris, or tennis, or … tax strategies. Same for your past experience — let your future boss know how good you were at the role, by providing your score. The High Score Resume constructs each bullet of your work experience with a success verb and a number — whether it’s units, a dollar sign or a percentage. That’s the most effective way to convey your past successes.

In the High Score Resume, the professional summary specifically and effectively communicates your “Next Level” — the job you want next. Very significantly, it is not a summary of your past professional experience, but a summary of where you will be next.

In the professional summary, you make your most effective, most concise, most powerful pitch for the job you want. Using short words and brief phrases, this section stands out from the rest of the High Score Resume in a dramatic and compelling way. You’ll use that power to make clear to your future boss your capabilities and your expectations for your next role.

For a typical, experienced professional with more than 10 years of experience, you’ll have 25 bullet points across two pages to make your case. If you’re earlier in your career, you may have only 10-15 bullet points across one page. In either case, the High Score Resume treats each bullet point as a precious resource to be optimized for your success.

The High Score Resume makes the most of each bullet by demonstrating your success, with numbers. Each bullet is constructed of a success verb and a specific numerical accomplishment in your field or role. This entices potential interviewers by providing quantified, proven results that detail your successes.

The High Score Resume allocates bullets to jobs according to its importance in landing your next gig. Your most recent jobs are the most important, so the last five years get 10 to 15 bullets. The next five get five to 10. The next five get five in total. Anything beyond 15 years ago gets zero bullets. “One of the reasons to hire me is the experience I had in 2002 with … ” is simply not persuasive to bosses looking to hire in 2020.

In the High Score Resume, the structure for each bullet point is a success verb plus specific numerical data regarding an accomplishment in your field or role. That means you need about 25 success verbs for your bullet points. Rather than make you guess, I’ve provided you with 25 great success verbs online that can serve effectively on any resume.

Finally, increasingly popular in recent years is the trend towards adding a company or role description. This brief section describes the company and/or the responsibilities of the role in a single line underneath the company name. This succinct summary of important background information is quite an effective way to convey the facts about your role or the company; staff size, budget and hiring circumstances can be shared on this line.

Whatever you decide to do, whether it’s reading the entire High Score Resume guide available on Ladders News, getting your resume written for you, using our free resume reviewer tool, or buying our bestselling book, you have a variety of choices for improving your resume this week.

Given the times, and the situation, I can’t emphasize enough how important and how effective it is to keep your resume updated “just in case.” It’ll also give you comfort knowing that you’re a little bit ready for whatever challenges you may face.

With that, I hope you and your loved ones remain safe, and that you have a great week ahead.