Old Habits Die Hard
Your resume is in pretty good shape. Isn’t it? You have been perusing professional samples online and you have been reading all the how to’s, when to’s, and don’ts. Well, then why no quality interview calls?
Despite unemployment rate still at 9.1% as of the end of 2010, there ARE opportunities out there. It is tougher, let’s face it, but why? Because your competition is talented and highly qualified. Therefore, you, my friend, have to step up your job-search game and dare to take control of your brand on paper (resume) by not playing it safe but standing out.
What am I referring to? Applying the old Objective plus Career Chronology to your resume, which you learned in high school isn’t going to cut it anymore. It is now imperative that your resume pop and quickly capture attention. It is vital that it conveys value over other candidates who are also extremely qualified. It is crucial that you tell a story about how you rescued the company, department, location, region, initiative, client base, and/or project. How? Survey your career from the employer’s-eye view and promote your exclusivity. Then, you will know how to best write a resume that implicitly tells an unmatched story that hogs the job search spotlight.
The Basics You Must Know
1. Presentation does matter. Seizing the attention of an employer means you have to break from the traditional and overly used resume presentation (design). While ultimately, content (achievements and qualifications) is what will win you an edge–by capturing attention first, you net the additional seconds necessary to entice, enthrall, guide, and compel through content (yes, content is still king). Now, know the design of your resume is conceptualized based on the industry you are targeting. Depending on your target industry, it may be necessary to keep the resume design conservative. Yet, conservative does not mean mundane. See below:
2. Write storytelling descriptions. As a career professional, I receive resume submissions daily. Most are in horrible shape but every now and then, I will find a few in my inbox that look nicely polished (thumbs up!). Yet, as I begin to read, the truth is revealed. The truth? The resume is an absolutely boring boilerplate; the job seeker has simply regurgitated the job description as if we don’t already know what the job entails.
Get this, your resume is not a job ad. You are not to list all the requirements to perform the job. (Employers already know what a job entails). Your resume is a job seeker promotional tool and you are to show…what YOU did with the opportunities under the given job title—not just that you fulfilled the job title (that is the least expected of you).
Before: Job Description
Cross-Selling Specialist, Company Name Here, 2007 to Present
Responsible for managing sales of distributor partners and direct customers. Facilitated customer relationships, leveraged marketing programs, provided sales training, and developed unique selling tools to drive sales volume, revenue and margin by translating customer needs to product solutions.
What is unique about the above? Wouldn’t others who hold this very same position describe their job this very same way?
After: Job Story (Cliffhanger, normally followed by quantifiable achievements in bullet form.)
Cross-Selling Specialist—Company Name Here, 2007 to Present
Identified, tackled, and solved the lack of a systemic process and efficient tools necessary to uncover account cross-selling opportunities and maximize sales growth despite a down market. Engineered a unique and user-friendly tool by leveraging industry ratios as a benchmark to identify product slate. Developed accompanying process. Tested, rolled out, promoted, and launched commensurate sales staff training, successfully equipping this B2B organization to better quantify, target, and aggressively close cross-selling opportunities across 14 sectors. Earned a promotion based on results; tool is recognized as a global best practice standard.
The above tells a story. Does it not? Let’s see: 1. this person faced and solved an existing problem, 2. created opportunities for growth, 3. engineered a tool that positioned the company for long-term growth. This person’s work was recognized company-wide. Wow! They actually produced results and not just executed the job.
Employer’s-Eye View= “This person is worth meeting. Perhaps they can come and dissolve our similar obstacles in reaching increased margins.”
3. Add impact with marketing power. Sometimes quantifiable achievements can be best illustrated with a bit of pizazz (a graph, a table). See here:
Bottom line is don’t be afraid to break from the historic way of presenting yourself on your resume. True, perhaps you will surprise prospective employers and yes, perhaps you will be the only one submitting a resume likes yours. Is that a bad thing? Are you a leader or a follower?
Playing it safe and blending in does not win interviews for top-paying jobs.
Time to shoot higher and dare to break the norm.
Our executive resume writing services can help you.
Rosa Elizabeth Vargas
Master Resume Writer
Nationally Certified Resume Writer
Certified Expert Resume Writer
Academy Certified Resume Writer
Career Marketing exclusively for leaders and executives
5 Replies to “The Resume: From The Employer Perspective”
As always, your advice is spot on. Today is all about telling stories and proving results. I call it the Weight Watchers story. If you see a girl in a bikini who is beautiful and slim, it doesn’t tell you how far she has come. If you see that same person in the “before” picture and then see all her working out in the gym and the effort she has expended, that’s when the picture becomes clear, meaningful and real. That’s what people need to do when thinking of their achievements. It’s not just about results… it’s about the journey that go them there!
Great points Rose! Efficient and effective presentation is what a powerful resume or CV is all about. Including results oriented stories is the name of the game – not an old list of job responsibiltiies. And graphs can say so much with so little space – definitely an underused tool.
It’s great to be a part of this wise group of career professionals!
Wonderful post, Rosa! So true about how out of date the old and widely-used “high school” resume format is in today’s high tech job market. And, you provided wonderful examples of how to do an effective presentation today!
Thank you ladies!
This is a wonderful post! Great tips on sprucing up the resume. I also like the idea of putting a graph. Now, I wonder what I should put in the graph… Degree Apraisal