Does your resume resemble a checklist, to-do list, a laundry list? Have you desperately tried to convince your prospective employers of your qualifications by including everything but the kitchen sink on your resume? Well, please don’t. HR knows what a job description is; they have seen thousands of resumes. While the HR/hiring authority’s goal is to screen resumes and identify qualified candidates, the person doing the screening, well, is a person—and no one enjoys being ‘bored to death,’ especially not by sifting through long-winded resumes that regurgitate all-too-familiar job descriptions. Here is a little secret: Many HR Managers write job descriptions. So, you are not doing them (or yourself) any favors by including a sea of bullets with your daily job accountabilities. Understand that your resume’s job is not to give away every little detail of what your job entailed. No sir-ee Bob. Instead, your resume’s job is…
to list your employment, so they know you have experience;
include job titles, so they know you have done the job before;
include dates, so they gauge your loyalty and employable record;
and, include education, certifications, and professional development, so they verify your credentials.
The rest of the resume is marketing, so you outdistance other job seekers. How do you outdistance other job seekers? With differentiating, interesting, and attention capturing copy that gets into the mind of the hiring authority and motivates them to ‘buy’ what you are selling.
So, before you decide to use your resume to tell HR Managers what an Operations Manager does, what a Creative Director is suppose to do, what Sales Managers are in charge of…opt to instead capture attention by telling them (concisely) how well you did it, a story of what challenges you faced, how you creatively overcame them, and paint a picture of the bottom-line your efforts produced. Now, that, will ensure you are memorable, entertaining, and worth an invitation into the office for a personal interview.
Here is a checklist to help you determine if you have said way too much and if the “HR Lady” is snoring on the other end.
1. Is your summary longer than five to six sentences? Keep things concise and employee-focused. It helps to write this section last.
2. Have you included more than say 2 to 3 soft skills(personal traits) in your Professional Summary. Soft skills are usually adjectives and while they add pizazz and energize your writing, too many of these also weakens your candidacy. On the flip side, substantiated and concrete skills (hard skills), strengthen your candidacy.
3. Is it difficult to identify your hard skills (technical skills, experience listed through the use of industry jargon and proficiencies such as staff management, operations improvement, sales cycle). These should be clearly identified.
4. Does your employment history resemble a job ad. Have you just defined what your job title means by recounting the reason you were hired. Don’t do this. Instead, focus on how you performed in this role, how you owned the role, and tell a story of the magnitude of obstacles you faced.
5. Do you have more than say six bullets under each job description? Remember that accomplishments are to be bulleted. While you may have more than a few accomplishments under each role, a skilled copywriter (professional resume writer) can combine similar triumphs, identify which are worth mentioning, and ‘umbrella’ some. There are a myriad of ways to convey your milestones without having to list 20 bullets under each job title.
6. Have you left them with questions? You must, but be very careful. You must say enough not to sound vague but conceal enough to ignite interest and plant a need for them to know more about you.