Thursday, December 22, 2011

How Not to Write A Resume:

Does your resume profile read something like this?
Pro-active and solution-oriented person with proven ability to think outside the box and build collaborative relationships by engaging internal and external stakeholders while working in a cross- functional matrix environment.    Critical thinker with exceptional track record of identifying win-win strategies, building consensus, and implementing change for bottom-line results. 
It does?  Then you sound like everyone else who’s looking for a job.  Not only does it fail to actually convey who you are because the phrases are so generic, but it’s resume speak.  It’s the same as saying blah blah blah.  
By the way,  I hope you didn’t pay someone to write that for you, because numerous professional writers, after they collect your money, are opening books they bought or checked out from the library.  Others have professional designations that they hope to impress you with, but they don’t impress me.  Having seen over half million resumes in my career, I remain unimpressed at most professionally written resumes I’ve seen.  In fact, I’ve redone a bunch of them.
Before you write your resume, or have someone else do it, think about who you are, what you’re good at, and why.  A resume isn’t a list of bland job description and gobbledy gook, generic, overly used phrases – it’s a document that tells your story and conveys who you  are as an individual.  It illustrates how you think, how your career has progressed, why, your degree of motivation, how you make decisions, what you do better than others who have the same skills, and how you’ve benefitted your employers. 
And it’s not just numbers and percentages about how you increased sales, increased production, reduced staff, bam bam bam, hardcore, cold statistics either.
Ask yourself these questions:
  1. What are the top 5 skills that have contributed to your success?
  2. What are the top 5 personality traits that have contributed to your success?
  3. What makes you good at what you do?
  4. What makes you different from the person that held your job before you, or the person who will hold it after you, or the person who has the same title working for the same kind of company down the street?
Now you’re starting to get the idea.
Here are pieces from several client profiles that will give you an idea of what you’re shooting for:
  1. Effective and innovative training professional adept at creating and delivering courses in multiple modes that bring enthusiasm for change and result in new user proficiency.  Extremely skilled at learning, analyzing and understanding new or upgraded software programs, breaking them down and putting together course materials based on audience needs and level of understanding. 
  2. Operationally focused and mathematically inclined corporate finance professional, able to synthesize seemingly disparate pieces into an integrated solution. 
  3. Skilled, forward thinking professional who pragmatically identifies opportunities to reduce expenses and scrutinizes financial records to pinpoint and correct errors. Precise, solutions oriented, and trustworthy, with an exceptional amount of common sense, and a positive “can do” attitude. 
  4. Recognized and published expert in human resource management with extremely effective listening and interpersonal skills, adept at identifying the real problem. 
Do you get a sense of something about that person that makes them unique?   And every bullet on your resume should illustrate the statements in your profile by showing what you did, the results and the benefit.
A resume that has a generic profile followed by a gloppy paragraph of keywords followed by bullets that say things like….
  1. Performed thorough and timely reference checking.
  2. Acted as a liaison between the embassy and the international media, students and other private sector partners.
  3. Led daily meetings with Oracle to define tasks, outline responsibilities, and form weekly agendas
  4. Managed procurement of desktop hardware, software and contractor services with vendors
  5. Involved in setting up customer’s project portfolio management system.
…….is not a resume.   The above are job descriptions, not bullets.  They go in a short paragraph by your job title, not bulleted under it.
Product brochures- cars, dishwashers, cameras, televisions –  make sure to differentiate their product from the competition.  You’re selling a product and the product is you.  When your resume is your brochure, it should accomplish the same purpose.

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