5 steps to writing a powerful HR resume

 
No matter how many resumes you’ve reviewed from job applicants during your career, crafting your own CV can be daunting. No one likes writing down their accomplishments and marketing themselves.

Many HR professionals find it particularly challenging to step back and look at their careers objectively to identify what makes them qualified and distinctive from other candidates. Why will people want to hire you? Why would a hiring manager remember you? What value would you bring to a new employer?

We asked our Randstad recruiting executives what they like to see in a successful HR resume that attracts interviews and offers. Here’s what they said.

Quantify and emphasize achievements

Quantifying achievements is one of the most crucial strategies to create an effective HR resume, according to Randstad employment experts. Without specific details, your resume may sound generic, much like other HR professionals who have similar work histories.

“A lot of HR professionals tend to cut and paste their job descriptions into their resume. Lots of duties, but no accomplishments,” said Jonna Cottrell, executive recruiter, human resources at Randstad Professionals in Chicago. “That is the biggest thing I teach HR professionals is how to showcase their accomplishments.” An HR manager may include the fact that they reduced annual employee turnover by 20 percent, or decreased costs by a specific dollar amount or percentage.

You should also highlight your role with a merger and acquisition or other major organizational change. “Any interruption in business that makes people think differently is valued by prospective employers,” said Ed Coyle, vice president, Randstad Human Resources. “Show the role and how you have changed with the organization as it’s grown, been acquired, merged or expanded globally. People don’t realize how important the HR function is when a company goes through a merger and acquisition. When it comes to merging corporate culture, HR plays a critical role in how employees come together.”

Add details about your previous employers

Help hiring managers understand the depth of your experience by providing details about the companies where you’ve worked. For example, cite the number of employees, annual company revenue, number of offices, the specific business or industry and other details that will give readers a frame of reference, according to Coyle.

Also, be sure to include highlights from your positions, especially if an HR professional has enjoyed long tenure at a company. Coyle said an HR director may show 11 years’ tenure at the same company. “But when you dig into the details, she really had six different jobs at the same organization over the 11 years. All major events redefined her HR experience and is relevant.”

Keep formatting and writing simple

The best HR resumes are written in a clear, concise fashion. Hiring managers don’t have time to read irrelevant information, unnecessary details and extraneous adjectives.

In addition to the writing, pay close attention to the resume formatting. Simple and spare is best, according to Randstad employment experts. Also, bolding keywords makes the resume scannable. Jobs seekers can set themselves apart from the competition by including important HR keywords and phrases throughout their resume, not just in the top summary section.

“I don’t like fancy formatting, with over-the-top graphics and underlining,” Cottrell said. “I don’t think HR professionals respond well to it. You want your resume to be a clear, easy read that you can scan quickly.”

Share what makes you unique

In addition to your professional and educational credentials, HR professionals should include other items that make you stand out and show leadership ability and communication skills.

Professional certifications such as SHRM-SCP, professional affiliations, leadership posts, presentations and volunteer activities add value and can be a point of conversation during the interview, according to Cottrell. Just be sure you keep the list lean and relevant. “You don’t need to list every charitable activity if it isn’t something you’re extremely passionate about. Hiring managers don’t need to read about a single two-hour stint working at the food bank,” she said. “Make it meaningful.”

Craft a strong headline

A brief headline statement should give resume reviewers an immediate sense of who you are as an HR professional — an HR generalist, benefits specialist or senior business partner. After the headline, consider adding one to three subheads that further define your experience, such as industry specialization, credentials and expertise in hot-button HR issues.
 
These tips to crafting a powerful HR resume will ensure that you’re a memorable candidate. Be sure to focus on what matters most and highlight what is distinct about your HR career.

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