Advice & insights: masterclasses from industry leaders

Mastering the Modern Resume: Virginia Franco’s Pro Tips

Virginia Franco

Virginia Franco

Virginia Franco

Key Takeaways

  • Digital platforms and social media have evolved resume writing into a concise style. Online reading preferences for skimming necessitate resumes to be brief, visually appealing, and easily digestible.
  • Many resumes miss the mark by not targeting the specific role, including irrelevant details. A frequent mistake is detailing job duties instead of showcasing impactful accomplishments that attract employers.
  • Effective resume storytelling details the client’s career journey and successes. This narrative approach highlights significant contributions in past roles, making the resume more compelling to decision-makers.
  • Tailoring resumes for each job is vital. It involves matching the resume headline to the job ad, aligning key skills and experiences with job needs, and featuring top accomplishments early in each job section.
  • Franco highlights adaptability’s importance, especially for re-entering the workforce or pursuing remote/global roles. She emphasizes showing current skills, flexibility, and resilience in fast-evolving industries through relevant experiences and achievements.

Mastering The Art of Resume Writing

In our interview, Virginia Franco, founder of Virginia Franco Resumes, and renowned career coach, discusses the impact of digital platforms on job applications. She shares insights into resume writing pitfalls, the art of resume personalization, and strategies for tailoring resumes for specific jobs. Discover her take on emerging trends in job searching and recruitment, and her approach to helping job seekers craft compelling career narratives.

How do you think social media and digital platforms have changed the way we write resumes these days?

“I’d say digital platforms and social media have had a dramatic impact on resume writing. 

Thanks to social media, we’ve become conditioned to bite-sized reading, which means writing must be tighter and more concise than ever. 

In terms of digital platforms, it’s important to recognize we read quite differently online than with print. Our eyes have a tough time digesting dense text and tend to jump around a good bit when screen reading. 

If you don’t take these factors into account, the document becomes difficult to read. When something is hard to read, and the person is in a rush you run the risk of critical information getting skipped altogether.”

picture of virginia franco
Virginia Franco

Could you share some common mistakes you’ve noticed when people try to weave their career story into their resume?

“In my experience, people struggle to write with the end goal – their target role – in mind. This informs what gets included and what gets omitted. 

The other big mistake I see is people using their resume to outline their job responsibilities rather than share their accomplishments. While responsibilities don’t stand out, accomplishments certainly do.”

When working on a client’s resume, how do you strike the right balance between highlighting their individual personality and ensuring it remains professionally appropriate?

“By doing a career deep-dive with my clients, I often uncover personality details that stand out. These might include anything from their philosophy and approach to leadership to something about their early days that shaped who they are today. 

Sometimes clients share testimonials and performance reviews, or I find LinkedIn recommendations that speak volumes about their personality. 

When it comes out in conversation or shows up in a recommendation – and it’s relevant to the job target – you’d better believe I find a way to incorporate it.”

Can you share an example of how storytelling in a resume has significantly impacted a client’s career?

“Storytelling occurs when the client walks me through their career journey – job by job – so that I can understand the before v. after – and the role they played in moving the needle from Point A to Point B. 

Their responses to my questions provide context to the story. The result? A series of achievement bullets for each role that weave in responsibilities and tell a mini-story, so that the decision-maker reads it and thinks, “that’s what I need.” 

How crucial do you think it is to customize a resume for each job application? And what’s your secret to doing this efficiently?

“If your resume doesn’t address how you’re a fit for the role in the application, you’ve likely lost the reader. To customize, I recommend: 

  1. Including a headline that aligns with that listed on the job posting.
  1. Making sure the first bullet listed in each job experience aligns with what the job posting asks for in a candidate. 
  1. Scrolling toward the bottom of the job posting – where “nice to have” and “need to have” requirements are usually listed. Make sure the “need to haves” are referenced and easy to find in the resume.”

Adapting Your Approach in Changing Job Markets

For someone jumping back into the workforce after a break, what resume writing tips would you offer to smooth their path?

“I always recommend being brief but transparent about the reason behind the gap – be it a layoff or caretaker leave. 

The important thing is to show your skills remain current – which can be done by highlighting courses taken, volunteer or pro-bono work you might have done based on your skillset. 

As an example, when I exited the workforce for a few years when my children were young, I lent my writing talents to help with fundraisers, school newsletters, etc. These were featured in my resume, so the reader knew that even though unpaid, I’d kept my writing skills fresh.”

With the rise of remote work, how should job seekers adapt their resumes to appeal to a global market?

“It all depends on your target. 

If targeting remote work, your resume should include instances where you’ve led or worked with teams scattered across the country/state/globe – and show you’re comfortable with tools/software needed for this. 

If targeting a global role, be sure to highlight region/market expertise (i.e., LATAM, APAC, EMEA) and any languages you may speak.”

How can job seekers effectively demonstrate their adaptability and resilience in their resumes, especially in rapidly changing industries?

This can be achieved by sharing achievements where you drove change adoption, or where you made a pivot – whether to a new software, a new process, etc. – and if applicable overcame a learning curve swiftly and successfully to do so. 

Upcoming Trends and Opportunities in Career Development

What emerging trends do you foresee in job searching and recruitment in the next five years?

I suspect from an economic standpoint we will continue to see industry ups and downs. For that reason, it will be important to showcase where and how you’ve supported companies/employees/customers during good times and bad. 

How do you see the role of storytelling evolving in resume writing over the next decade?

I see storytelling remaining a core component used to convey achievements relevant to the job target in a manner that differentiates and ensures the candidate stands out as memorable. 

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