The Resume Pyramid:
Building a Great Resume From the Top Down
If you have experienced writer’s block while trying to construct your resume, you might find it helpful to think of your resume as a three-layered pyramid. All the elements of an effective resume will fit within those three layers.
Layer #1: The Pyramid Pinnacle: Your Job Focus
The top layer of the pyramid is your career focus—the starting point of a great resume. Think of a focused resume as the opposite of a one-size-fits-all resume. An early lesson I learned as a headhunter was that employers are suspicious of candidates whose resumes don’t focus on one career objective. They assume the candidate doesn’t know what he/she wants to do, or that the candidate isn’t really very skilled in either objective.
If your career background allows you options for two or more career objectives, that’s great; just make sure that you create a separate resume for each objective.
Layer #2: The Pyramid Midsection: Your Selling Points
The midsection of the pyramid is made up of the selling points that support your career focus. Selling points are all the qualifications that make you a strong candidate for your particular career focus or objective. For example: the selling points of a sales professional might consist of “New Account Generation”, “Major Account Penetration” or “High Volume Closer.” Whatever your career focus, determine the best selling points to prove that you match the qualifications for the job.
If you are attempting to cross industry or occupational lines in your next career move, think of your transferable skills as your selling points. Communicating transferable skills allows prospective employers to see your expertise and accomplishments outside the context of your former industry or occupation.
Layer #3: The Pyramid Base: Your Accomplishments
The largest part of a pyramid is its base; likewise, your accomplishments should comprise the largest part of your resume. Like a pyramid’s base, your accomplishments support your selling points, which in turn support your focus.
Your accomplishments illustrate the strength of your qualifications. Quantifiable accomplishments that relate to bottom-line corporate objectives are more significant. If you express your accomplishments as benefits rather than as features, they will appeal more to your readers.
Feature: “Developed and implemented 24-hour pricing turnaround.”
Benefit: “Increased sales closure rate 35% by implementing 24-hour pricing turnaround.”
Thinking of your resume as a three-layered pyramid will help you to break down the complexity of your work history and simplify your resume content into a concise, comprehensive marketing message that will capture the attention of your next employer.
Deborah Walker, CCMC
Resume Writer ~ Career Coach