A Resumé Is a Terrible Thing to Waste

A Resumé Is a Terrible Thing to Waste

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Not all resumés are created equal and I see quite a few each and every day.  As a matter of fact I have personally reviewed no less than ten-thousand resumés in the last two years. Want to know what 98% of them have in common?  They are not very good.  They don’t get noticed. They open no doors. I am serious! Most professionals give the resumé little weight in their overall career management or search strategies, preferring instead to “slap-up” any old document. You can always tell when the construction is shoddy. It’s not unusual to find severe grammatical errors or poor formatting. The vast majority of documents confuse job responsibilities from actual accomplishments. Finally, this essential tool often does not adequately describe what is unique about the person behind it. It’s a marketing brochure for goodness sake!

Remember those anti-drug commercials from the late 70’s and early 80’s? They show an egg and then a hot frying pan? “This is your brain.” The egg gets cracked into a hot, oily pan. “This is your brain on drugs.” Got the visual? Okay, apply the same concept to your resumé. “This is your resumé. This is what happens when you put a poor resume on the internet.” Do I have your attention now? What I am saying is that you do some damage to your professional persona by not thinking through how you advertise yourself. The reality is that a recruiter or hiring manager will make a decision about you (without a phone call or email) within seconds of reviewing your document.  The new way to think about resumé preparation is to conceive the following: What do I need to do to impress someone with this document, in seconds?

Here are a few pieces of advice on the professional resumé:

  • Take the time to proofread your marketing brochure. Spelling errors and poor grammar are not received well by professionals looking to hire the “solution” to their current challenges.
  • Get some help with the editing if you can. Another set of eyes can be an asset.
  • Separate job responsibility details from accomplishments. Use two to three sentences to describe what you are actually paid to do, your job duties. Then use succinct bullets to present your quantifiable accomplishments.
  • Spend some time each month documenting your wins. Creating an accomplishments “inventory” will be a big help when it comes time to put together your ad campaign.

Finally, it is important to personalize your resumé so that it speaks to your unique qualities as a candidate. This can be done with a solid, descriptive leadership profile. The prime real estate on page one becomes minimized with an “objective” statement!  If you state a narrowly defined purpose for your candidacy you can reasonably believe that the reader will hold you to it. A resumé is a terrible thing to waste. Don’t let yours end up on the TD (turndown) pile.