Before becoming a writer, I worked in the employment industry for a multi-billion dollar recruitment company. My job was to help people find jobs. Not just any job. A job they desired at a company they wanted to work for. I’ll tell ya, it was a rewarding position.
The one thing I’d learned was that most job-seekers do not understand the value of a resume. Forget Linkedin and other business social platforms for a moment – your resume is the gateway to potential employees looking to make a match. Without a clear explanation of your work history, you are wasting your time and that of a potential employer. I labored over perfecting resumes and giving tips to job seekers that resulted in placing over 500 people into their dream positions.
All because of their resume.
Gary Burnison, a contributor for CNBC.com, recently wrote about the best resume he’s ever seen. As a man with over 20 years of hiring experience, he explains what grabbed his attention. And trust me, it’s not what you think.
Candidates are used to making their resumes pop with overly used adjectives and crazy colors and fonts. But all the flashy content means nothing if you can’t express your skills. Here are a few of his examples from said resume to help you in the future.
5. Make your resume easy to read
The shelf life of a resume is 30 secs. Truthfully. So while you spent hours or days streamlining your resume, it may not be fully reviewed.
“This resume had plenty of white space and was two pages long, which is expected if you have more than 10 years of experience.
Everything was nicely organized: Line spacing was just right, company names in bold, titles italicized and job details arranged in bullet points. Oh, and not a single typo to be found.
I liked that the font was nothing fancy. Too many candidates waste time obsessing over which font to use. I won’t weigh in on Times New Roman versus Calibri, but I will say that it should always be simple and easy to read.”
4. Tell your story
Sure, resumes seem like boring reading, but it tells a story. It says where you’ve been and where you’re going. If you’re looking to climb the corporate ladder or get back into the workforce, the resume should show the employer why you are a good fit. And most importantly how you got there.
“This resume told a story about the candidate’s career journey. There were no information gaps (i.e., a missing summer). From top to bottom, there was a clear “before and after.” In just a few seconds, I was able to see a “staircase pattern” of the candidate’s career growth.
In other words, the chronological list of work history — in order of date, with the most recent position at the top — showed a clear progression of more senior roles and more advanced responsibilities.”
3. Always be honest
Nowadays, most employers will run a background check. They will also talk to references and past employers. This gives them confidence that they’re hiring the right person. If you lie or over-inflate your experience, you won’t get the job.
“There weren’t any discrepancies that raised red flags. Everything was believable and the numbers weren’t exaggerated. Even better, the resume had links to the person’s LinkedIn page and professional website, which included a portfolio of their work. This made it easier for me to fact-check the resume, which in turn made the candidate seem like an honest person.
My advice? Tell the truth — period. A colleague once told me about someone who listed “convicted felon” on her resume. The candidate submitted her resume, then called the hiring manager and asked, “Would you hire an ex-convict?” After a series of questions and some due diligence, they offered her the job. And based on what I’ve heard, she ended up being an excellent hire.”
2. Don’t cut and paste your own job description into your resume
A resume consists of your past work experience, but you have to be specific. For example, if you wrote “Created and analyzed quarterly budget spreadsheets“, it tells the employer nothing. You have to quantify it. If I looked at this resume, I would ask, “Great they can finish a spreadsheet. But how big was the budget? What discrepancies or trends did they uncover? How will this skill apply to my company?”
It would be better to say: “Created and analyzed a $600 million operating budget for the North American region. Uncovered over $1 million in discrepancies, resulting in over $200,000 in annual savings for the company.”
Trust me, these Return of Investment (ROI) statements will rock that employers world! Just make sure you are honest.
“What employers really want to know is whether you’re an above average candidate who’s capable of delivering quantifiable results — and this person did a great job of proving that they were.
It’s always better to highlight your responsibilities by detailing your most impressive accomplishments:
Instead of “expanded operations to international markets,” say “expanded operations to eight new countries in Latin America. ”
Instead of “led marketing and sales team,” say “supervised marketing and sales team and achieved 15% annual growth vs. 0.5% budget. ”
1. Skip the cliche terms and phrases and get right to the point
Highly motivated, creative, passionate, results-driven, blah, blah, blah. Boring. These are some of the most overused words in resume-landia. If you want to score that job and rise above all the other “boring” resumes, then show how you are result-driven, don’t just tell.
“Including any of these cliché terms will make your hiring manager roll their eyes in less than a second. Skip the cheesy adjectives and overused terms and go for action verbs instead.
Instead of “excellent communicator,” say “presented at face-to-face client meetings and spoke at college recruiting events. ”
Instead of “highly creative,” say “designed and implemented new global application monitoring platform.”
I hope these simple tricks help with your job search. Remember, do not over think it. Your resume is your story and as long as it’s honest and result-oriented, you could land that dream job.