Resuscitation For Your Ailing Resume

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I review a lot of resumes. And most of them have at least one of four major problems related to content, style, and form. Does your resume fall into one or more of these categories? If so, it may be time to perform a checkup on your resume to improve the overall health of your job-search campaign.


The job description

These resumes list job responsibilities galore and often look like the writer literally cut and pasted their job description into the resume. What makes a strong resume is not simply the description of your job tasks; it's how successfully you execute on those job tasks that makes you unique and makes you interesting to a hiring manager.

Tip: For each position you have held, create a brief paragraph that describes your job responsibilities and job scope including the size of your budget and staff. Use bullets to express your accomplishments and how you perform your job smarter, faster, and more efficiently. Showcase examples of how you help the companies you support make money, save money, save time, improve processes, acquire new business, or keep existing business.


Before: Taught reading skills to remedial students.

After: Accelerated 80% of students' reading scores two or more grade levels within one semester.


Before: Repaired MRI equipment in doctors' offices and hospitals.

After: Worked under tight time frames with limited resources to repair equipment hardware and software issues quickly and keep patient visits on schedule.


The statistics dump

These resumes show metric after metric --.a 50% increase in sales, a $2M decrease in operating costs -- yet they never explain how these stellar results were achieved. The hiring manager needs to understand the story behind your accomplishments -- what obstacles you faced and what these statistics mean within a given context -- in order to be wowed by you.

Tip: Create accomplishments that prove a quantifiable impact and an explanation of the achievement.


Before: Conceived and implemented the Finance First program, achieving $700M in incremental assets.

After: Conceived and implemented the Finance First program, the company's first-ever and most successful integrated marketing program for financial advisory services. Inaugural campaign achieved incremental $700M in assets and earned reputation as the gold standard for all company marketing campaigns.


Before: Attained a 50% increase in funding budget for clinical trials.

After: Attained a 50% increase in funding budget and a renegotiated contract for clinical studies by benchmarking research costs, linking research costs to the unique attributes of the study group, and guaranteeing sponsors an expedited review process and on-time trial start date.


The touchy-feely

Most resumes I see start out with an overview paragraph describing the person's personal attributes. Everyone seems to be a dedicated, loyal, hard-worker, not to mention a great communicator and a team player. Yet there is no actual proof that the candidate possesses any of these personal attributes on the resume. And without the proof these are just words -- and a waste of space.

Tip: Create a profile section that focuses on your proven success and the big picture value you can offer an employer. Your profile is like a movie trailer. If the trailer is good people will want to see the movie. If your profile is compelling, people will want to read the rest of your resume.


Before: Results-producing Marketing professional with a proven record in developing, executing and analyzing comprehensive marketing strategies in support of company goals and objectives. Directed the creation of marketing tools and steered the execution of marketing programs. Demonstrated successful growth in targeted markets through implementation of key projects. Excellent leadership skills; built and guided top-performing marketing teams. Adept at communicating with all levels of management, vendors, and internal departments or partners to coordinate overall marketing efforts. Proven to be reliable, dependable and professional.


After:

Marketing & Operations Professional

consumer goods ▪ retail environments ▪ multi-site locations ▪ corporate & in-store experience ▪ Fortune 500

Marketing Program Management ... Experience launching new products and services and reversing struggling campaigns into strong performing programs with annualized ROI.

Operational Transformations ... Continuous success tightening operational infrastructures to streamline processes, eliminate redundancies, scale resources, optimize staff, and enhance measurement and reporting capabilities.

Leadership ... Reputation for creating programs that motivate staff to collaborate and embrace company mission and values. Demonstrated success retaining employees, spotting talent, and mentoring high potentials.



The cookie cutter

These are the resumes that were crafted using a template and look like thousands of other resumes. They make you look lazy and just not that into the whole job search gig.They scream "I don't have an original thought in my head and I like it that way." You don't need to be Picasso to create a resume with a few interesting design elements. The goal is not to use design elements to make the resume look pretty; it is to use design features to make important information stand out.

Tip: Think outside of the box. Create your own resume style to best showcase your information. Don't be afraid to use tables, charts, or graphs if they help get your point across. Step away from the Times New Roman font. There are other good choices for resumes including Arial, Arial Narrow, Calibri, Veranda, and Tahoma.


Before: Improved revenue growth, client growth, loan commitments, and deposit growth significantly during tenure.

After:


Year Revenue
Growth
Client
Growth
Loan
Commitments
Deposit Growth
2004 5% 5% $100M 5%
2005 10% 7% $200M 10%
2006 25% 12% $300M 15%
2007 30% 22% $400M 20%
2008 35% 28% $500M 25%
2009 40% 35% $600M 30%


Next: 4 Tips for Crafting a Resume to Complement Your Job Application



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