It’s impossible for me to overstate the linkage between your resume and future success. Having spent over 30+ years in Corporate HR in sizeable organizations, I cannot begin to calculate how many resumes I’ve reviewed. Few were memorable, some were acceptable, and most were immediately forgettable.
There are quite a few documents in one’s life that will play a role in that person’s future success. However, few have more power to create that future than your resume.
As a professional resume writer and interview skills coach, here are the mistakes and blunders I see.
Minimal Language of Achievement and Contribution
Most resumes read like job descriptions and highlights what the individual crosses off the occupational to-do list. Recruiters and hiring managers read hundreds of resumes and nothing makes them sprint to the nearest Starbucks than boring entries that don’t answer the essential question. How might this applicant’s past achievements and contributions make my organization more successful? If your resume fails to have an abundance of compelling entries, it’s destined for the circular file!
Blowing the Glimpse Test
Before deciding to read someone’s resume, I would take a 5-10 second glimpse to see if the applicant had the core qualifications for the position. Applicants that failed this test were quickly eliminated. Start your resume with a professional summary section. It should highlight key qualifications and accomplishments that get the hiring manager envisioning you doing the job.
Here are some examples:
• Skilled at turning around teams and departments with sub-standard performance
• Able to manage a high volume workload requiring performance to demanding standards for quality and timeliness
• Demonstrated achievements in customer retention and acquisition
The Failure to Understand That Less Is Really More
Your resume is not about how much is presented but rather, how powerful your entries are. Think about movies, songs and sayings where a powerful and concise statement is etched in your memory, such as “Failure is not an option” from the movie Apollo 13. In our hyper-involved lives where we seem to get distracted within seconds of starting, concise and powerful language should be the badge of honor on your resume.
Spacing Out on Sequencing
For all the jobs you have held, the first entry should be your “wow factor” and all that follows should be listed in decreasing wow power. Hiring managers want to
interview only a few applicants and it’s up to you to be one of the best of the best on paper. You’d be amazed by the number of resumes where the wow items were deeply buried in the resume and were easily overlooked.
Your resume can literally change your life and your future. These actions will go a long way and will have hiring managers interested in interviewing you.