Career Strategy Tips #6 - Your Resume at the Gates
Knock, Knock. Clank, Clank. "Let me in" moans the resume.
"Why you?" comes the response.
"How can we let you In looking like that? This is a special place, and you are just like all the others."
Your resume must be Seductive -- or, if you prefer -- 'Compelling' and 'Engaging'.
How many seconds is someone going to spend on your resume in their busy day? 15 seconds, 30 seconds? They have perhaps hundreds of resumes to review, deadlines, the rest of their job, fires to put out, meetings; plus events, kids, family, husband, wife, boyfriend...you get the idea.
Your resume needs to jump out at them. It needs to grab them. So, what are your grabbers?
Remember, the person reviewing your resume doesn't want to know about everything you did in your past. What is important is how does your experience and success fit with the position for which you are applying?, and/or does it succinctly answer the question: What are your strengths? What are your successes?
Put yourself in the recipient's shoes, and, always keep foremost in your mind your answer to the dominant question -- What information about you is critical to them?
How do your accomplishments/successes apply to my company and its needs, and, what do I, the hiring person, expect your contribution to be?
Therefore, although your resume synthesizes your career past, it should emphasise those facts which are most relevant and important about your career going forward.
The following Tips are not intended to give you everything you need to know about your resume, but they are key resume drivers.
• LESS IS MORE -- 2 pages maximum. (Even if you have numerous publications, list them in an annex attachment.)
Remember, when you go to a jewelry store to buy a wrist watch are you interested in the city it was made, the name of the watchmaker, his experience, and the details of how he constructed the watch, or, is there a watch in the case that catches your eye, that stands out from the others, that has a special appeal? And, yes, perhaps Brand is also important.
• YOUR PERSONAL BRAND -- Forget about an 'Objective' statement. It's your Brand that counts. It should be a stand alone paragraph with no heading of 3-5 sentences situated right below your name and contact information at the top, and before your Experience section. Your Brand should answer the questions: Who are you? Where are you headed? and what distinguishes you? (See my article: "The Power of Your Brand".)
• THE LEAN BEEF WITH ZERO FAT SECTION -- The title of this section which comes after your Brand should be: "Professional Experience and accomplishments". Flush left is your company and location.
Flush right on the same line are your dates -- years only.
Next line, flush left, under your company, is your Job Title.
Below, under your Job Title, again, flush left, is a 1-2 line job description.
Next, are your Bullet Points. Only use a bullet point for an accomplishment, not a further detailed job description. Don't worry about the number. Quality always trumps quantity. 2 strong bullets are always better than 6 weak bullets.
So what is an accomplishment? It is a quantifiable result representing a success. It's not how you did it, but what you did which resulted in______?
You rolled out an initiative which resulted in_____?
You solved a problem resulting in cost savings of two million dollars.
You created a process to______ which resulted in____?
Increased sales by _______%
Expanded customer base in first year by ______%.
If your career goes back beyond c. 15 years, and you have relevant experience, create a new section with the heading "Additional Experience" , or, "Additional Highlights", and briefly list the companies, your titles and, if material, an accomplishment or job description. You do not need to include employment dates.
• "Education" comes next.
• Finally, memberships in organizations, awards, and special skills (relevant to the kinds of positions for which you are applying .)
• Last, but not least, always mail a hard copy of your resume, even if you have emailed it. It is always an advantage if you have the name of the person to whom you are sending it.
Bottom line, you need a resume that will get you in the gates, not a resume that tells everything about yourself. Expanding on the facts about yourself and your professional career, and any other information, can wait until an interview. But, first, get them interested in you, and get the interview.