Boutique Writing, LinkedIn Profiles, & Coaching best resume writer
Resumes That Don't Know They Suck
September 26, 2014
A good resume is one that gets you a callback or email from a recruiter asking for an interview.
A bad resume goes in the trash is never heard from again or, worse, is passed around the recruiter's office for laughs.
You know the cardinal sins - no typos, no lies, no first person language, no bad formatting, and no employment gaps - but what about everything else? How do you get from fair to great? What's the difference between being considered and being sought? Skills, experience and qualifications are a large part, but they aren't the only deciders. Your character plays a MUCH larger role than you might ever imagine, and a great resume reflects it whether you realized it or not.
Think about it for a minute.
If you were hiring for an executive assistant with five+ years’ experience working in a public relations office, which one would you invite to interview with you first?
A. Sally, who has six years of experience, says, “Hardworking, intelligent, go-getter who spins plates while juggling calls and multiple deadlines with an absolutely winning approach to everything and a highly polished demeanor”
B. Alice, who has three years of experience, says, “Bright, upbeat, enthusiastic, and receptive professional willing to provide assistance wherever it’s needed in whatever manner best serves the firm’s goals”
Let’s try two more examples.
A. George, who is applying for an IT desktop support position has twelve years’ experience, states, “Dedicated, thoroughly proven, and highly trusted desktop support specialist, who has countless accolades from satisfied clients”
B. Jeremy, who is applying for the same position but only has five years’ experience, says, “Dedicated, intelligent, and eager IT specialist with strong follow-through skills and a stay-until-it’s-fixed work habit”
You probably don’t think the “A” examples suck, at least not until you position them next to their competition. But ask yourself: Which one in each example seems more teachable? Which one might get along better with others? Which one seems just a tad cocky? Which two of the four examples seem to communicate with more care?
A resume that sucks doesn’t necessarily suck because it’s visually or grammatically flawed, it may simply be because the resume conveys an emotional tone or feel that doesn’t land or resonate well with its recipients. Context is everything. In recruiting the context is how resumes compare to each other; the hiring team can only select the best candidate from those that are available at that moment in time.
How can you suck less if you don’t know who you’re up against? Two ways:
Shop resumes that are posted online for the type of work you’re interested in and see how you stack up (a valuable exercise, but potentially tricky since you still can’t be certain if they’ve applied for the same post)
Drop all pretenses about your specialness (letting your qualifications speak for themselves) and use direct, everyday language about who you are and what you can offer
Stop using Quantified, Mastered, Drove, Implemented, and Launched as your verbs, and instead use Confirmed, Learned, Explored, Applied, and Opened.
Steer clear of words like Proven, Exceptional, Extraordinary, and Insightful when describing yourself, instead opting for terms like Open, Ready, Willing, Enthusiastic, and Prepared.
Speak to the value of the experience you gained and how it benefitted your previous employer, rather than how much you benefitted from it and how fabulous you are now as a result. Let your readers come to their own conclusion about how special you are – never direct them to how they should be viewing you.
When you strike the right tone of genuineness and sincerity you’ll be amazed at how much more qualified you’ll seem!
Be real, suck less. That’s my advice.
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