Do you find yourself in the midst of job searching shaking your head and
thinking that the people who are reading your resume must be idiots?
Why can’t they see that you are the perfect candidate for the job? Why
don’t they get that you have done exactly what they are asking for in
your current or previous position? What is wrong with them?
Why don’t they call?
Nothing is wrong with them and they are not idiots. They are good people
who are completely inundated with hundreds of resumes for one single
It is frustrating, I know. It is not my intent to add to the frustration in saying this next statement:
The disconnect may not be from the reader, but in the reading.
In other words – it just might be your resume, specifically, your experience section tells them not to call.
Take a look at your resume and focus on this portion. Read through it
quickly, not from the mentality that it is yours, but from a removed
prospective as someone looking for a candidate.
Now answer this question: did you just read a job description?
Too often previous or current positions are listed on a resume as a job description, detailing what you were hired to do.
We need to change that into points that clearly demonstrate your value.
To be direct: employers do not care what you were hired to do, they want
to know what value you added to give them an indication of what you can
do for them. They are looking for people that have skills and value to
bring to the table, not just show up at work.
Making the transition
Let’s break this down in an easy to follow methodology and not entirely recreate the wheel.
We will start with what you have currently listed on your resume.
For each bullet point write at the end of the sentence “which resulted
in…” and finish the thought. Each action you list on your resume has
value, and if it does not it should not be listed.
To complete the sentence think about who or what benefited by you
performing the task. It could be a process, a division, clients, team
members or the organization.
Now let’s beef it up a bit, let’s think about the tasks you did and how you improved them.
Human nature is to find a simpler, easier way to perform tasks. You can
call it being lazy, I call it improving efficiency. So what did you
change to make your life easier in doing any task? This is an
improvement and something you can list on your resume.
Now let’s think about who you interact with: who do you work with, how,
what do you do, how do you do it, who benefits and in what way?
Let’s say one of your responsibilities is running a report. Sounds
simple enough and you may even have it listed as “create weekly reports”
or something as non-descriptive.
We need to break it down to build it up. Think about how you create the
report – where do you gather the information, what system or process do
you use in translating data; who do you give it to and how – do you
email them, print it out or verbally discuss it with them; what is their
role? Now let’s take it a step further – why do you run the report? How
does the individual, team or division utilize the report, is it used
for assessment or forecasting, what role does it play in the next step?
Take all this information and put it into a new bullet point. Phrases
and words can add in could be: gather data from X departments, create
weekly X report utilized by X Manager, forecast monthly goals, evaluate
existing status, strategy, communicate, and so on.
Now we have gone from a task bullet to a value bullet.
Writing takes more than one take
When you are revising your experience bullet points do not try to write
them the first go round in resume language. You will either get stuck
very early on or you will create a phenomenal bullet and then become
discouraged that nothing else sounds as good.
Write it as though you were having a conversation, get the most of your information as you can and then go back to clean it up.
I am a professional resume writer and I never write a first draft in
resume language. My first drafts are a mess and combination of styles of
writing and speaking. It is most important that I get the information
down first and then go back to modify.
This is not easy to do, give yourself a break if it takes a few times to
get just one bullet right. Do not beat yourself up when writing it;
actually, take you out of it all together.