How to Write an Authentic Resume

How to Write an Authentic Resume

An authentic resume is a resume that is a genuine representation of yourself.

Many resumes are written with a heavy focus on the Applicant Tracking System as the audience. Consequently, there is a focus on selecting the right keywords and using compatible formatting. The resulting resumes frequently offer the same generic overstatements and saturation as a keyword strategy. There is a lot of fluff and little substance.  This is not an authentic resume.

While keywords are vital, so too is building a connection with the human reader. Authenticity and genuineness support connection. This is achieved by sharing insights into your energy, personality, and strengths supported by actual evidence.

Once past the Applicant Tracking System, your resume will be read by an actual human. If you have failed to consider your human audience, your resume still won’t get you an interview.

Why Does Authenticity Matter?

In marketing right now, authenticity matters more than ever.  Brands are trying to ‘humanise’ to build credibility and engage with customers.

Your resume is a marketing document. Of all marketing documents, it makes sense that your resume should have an authentic voice and contain a genuine representation of your personality, work style, and values.

Tips for an Authentic Resume

1. Set a Defined Personal Brand

By defining your brand, you can deliver a stronger message, improve your ability to differentiate yourself and build credibility.

No one is exceptional at everything. You will be more effective if you select just three main strengths to focus on. Otherwise, you dilute your brand and lack genuineness. 

2.Use Personal Pronouns

A controversial recommendation, I know.  One of the most adhered to rules is ‘Do not include personal pronouns on your resume’. The argument is that a resume is business writing, and therefore personal pronouns should not be used.  However, in the age of authenticity, your resume should have an authentic voice, which means using personal pronouns were appropriate.

Importantly though, please don’t overdo it.  We all know the monotony of reading a cover letter that begins every sentence with ‘I’.

Related: Resume Writing Conventions

Related: First Person Resume

3. Tell Your Stories

There are two ways you can apply storytelling to your resume. Firstly, you can tell your overall career story by creating a coherent narrative around your career path throughout your resume. Secondly, you can also include smaller success stories.

You should use quantified achievement statements instead of empty claims like ‘excellent customer service skills’. However, equally, don’t just list ‘achieved a 95% customer satisfaction rating’ Rather, you should explain how you achieved this result. In doing so, you can demonstrate precisely how your customer service is exceptional and what your unique approach is.

Related: Achievement Stories

4. Share Your Motivation

Hiring managers are looking for engaged employees.  They want to know, aside from payday, what keeps you turning up for work each day.

You don’t need to state directly, “I am passionate about….” Instead, weave evidence of your motivation into your document. 

Use the descriptions of your roles to describe your motivation for changes in position. Additionally, highlight the achievements you are most proud of and explain why.

5. Showcase your Volunteer Work

SEEK research found that 95% of employers agreed that volunteering could be a credible way of gaining real-work experience to add to your resume. 

Including volunteer work on your resume doesn’t just help prove your employability skills; it also demonstrates your personality and core values.

Related: How to Include Volunteer Work on your Resume

6. Include Your Hobbies

Despite popular belief, hobbies can also be relevant.  It would be best if you were selective and strategic in the way you share your hobbies, but you can include them.

Including hobbies gives an immediate point for connection. Furthermore, it helps build likability and offers insight into the type of person you are; adventure seeker, creative, community orientated, committed to learning.

It would be best if you kept some sensible limits to what you share. For example, avoid anything potentially controversial.  

Also, be mindful of providing information that reveals your age, gender, race, ethnicity, sexual identity, or disability status. This information has no relevance to your ability to perform a role. Unfortunately, discrimination does occur.

7. Avoid Jargon & Overstatements

Filler words and jargon don’t belong on an authentic resume.

The type of language we are talking about is ‘results-orientated professional’, ‘proven track record of success’, ‘motivated self-starter’, or ‘strategic thinker’,

Use your voice; your words, no overstatements and no buzzwords!

Related: Resume Clichés and Buzzwords

If you need help creating an authentic resume, that reflects your unique value, I can help.

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