Finally, let’s look at the last of the 3 questions your résumé MUST answer to get a hiring manager to sit up and take notice:
Once your résumé has passed the first 2 tests mentioned in my earlier postings, you’ve got my interest. Now you need to demonstrate that you can produce results that will be relevant to me. Don’t waste your time telling me a laundry list of the duties you’ve been assigned and responsibilities you’ve held. (And don’t get me started on bullets that say “Responsible for…”Just get to the point and tell me what you did!)
This is about results. Don’t bother will all the details of what you did, just get straight to the high level accomplishment, and the results you achieved for the company or client. No one pays you just to perform duties. They pay you because the work you are doing produces results. Get really clear on what those results were – whether you completed a difficult project on time, delivered a new program under budget, made a procedure more efficient, or turned around a dissatisfied customer so that they continued to purchase your products or services. And wherever possible, include metrics so that I have an idea of the impact. “Increased efficiency” is a result, but it’s much more meaningful as “reduced run time by 25%.”
I invite you to post your comments on what other critical questions YOU think your résumé must address to gain the reader’s attention.
Now let’s look at the 2nd of the 3 questions your résumé MUST answer to get a hiring manager to sit up and take notice:
Let’s face it - recruiters, HR professionals, and hiring managers are busy people. Typically they receive hundreds of résumés for any opening they might have. You can’t possibly expect them to take the time to read all of those in any detail. Unless your résumé grabs their attention in 10 seconds or less, it is very likely going into the ‘maybe I’ll look at it again later’ pile, and we all know how many of those actually get a second look!
Instead of opening up with an “Objective,” which is about you, start with a statement that’s relevant to a hiring manager. In fact, I’ve rarely seen an “Objective” that was particularly helpful. Focus instead on the package you bring to the table, and the problems that will enable you to solve.
And don’t waste time making meaningless statements like, “Excellent written and oral communication skills.” How is that going to set you apart from anyone else, particularly when so many people include a similar statement? Why should anyone believe you? Instead, give an example of how you have made persuasive presentations, written reports that secured crucial funding, etc.
Okay, let’s look at the 1st of the 3 questions your résumé MUST answer to get a hiring manager to sit up and take notice:
You might say, “Why should I worry about that? It’s just window dressing. The meat of the résumé is in what I say!”
Like it or not, appearance does matter. While your accomplishments, skills and qualities are clearly the most important parts of your package, how you present them is also important. Your résumé is the first work product of yours I’m seeing, and I am going to draw immediate conclusions about the potential quality of the work you would do for me by what I see.
This is your “sales brochure”, a piece over which I’m going to assume you’ve sweated bullets (or should have) to get it just right. If it’s put together sloppily, with indentations that don’t line up, spelling errors, or tiny margins or fonts so that it looks like it’s crammed onto the page and hard to read, etc., then what should I expect from your ‘normal’ work?
The appearance of your résumé should communicate that you are a professional who cares about the quality of the work you present!
Would this ”Objective” opening grab your attention and make you excited to read the rest of my résumé?
“Seeking a management level role that will let me use my acquired skills and talents in mentoring, leadership and work unit reorganization to help a forward-looking company improve its efficiency and enable me to energize my career.”
This opening commits several fundamental mistakes:
When writing your résumé, you need to put yourself in the hiring manager’s shoes. If I’m the hiring manager, to grab my attention you need to concentrate on answering these 3 questions:
For more on creating a powerful resume, visit:
A career search is a Marketing Campaign, pure and simple. That means that to have the most success, you need to become the best possible Executive VP of Marketing for your company, “Me, Inc.”
This is scary for many people.
“Wait”, you say, “I didn’t sign up to become a salesperson!”
Don’t worry, you don’t need to become the stereotypical used car salesman to be effective at this. What you do need to do is to get really clear on the benefits your ‘product’ offers to your ‘client’, your prospective hiring manager.
This is a problem for many people. There is a tendency to think in terms of ‘experience’, which really isn’t on point. I don’t hire you because you have 15 years experience designing widgets - that only says you’ve done it, not that you’ve done it well. The only reason I will hire you is because of the results I believe you will produce for me, and experience is at best a poor surrogate for results. And besides, it lumps you in with everyone else who has experience, instead of distinguishing your ‘product’ from anyone else.
Did you design widgets that got your company into new markets? Did you come up with innovative designs that accelerated revenue growth? Did you put together quality designs that avoided costly re-work? Did you come up with designs that were easier to implement ant got your company to market faster?
Over the coming weeks, I will explore how to do this effectively, and how this affects everything you do and use in your search - your marketing message, your 2 minute pitch, your résumé, your cover letter, …
Until next time…
I’m experimenting with a blog to let me post shorter, more frequent items than appear in my Career Tips newsletter. I’m particularly interested in finding out about and addressing YOUR challenges, so post away!
ps: If you aren’t already subscribing to Career Tips, I invite you to check out the contents of past issues, and selected articles, at http://www.JHACareers.com/Newsletter.htm. You will also find a variety of longer articles on Career Search, Career Growth and Business Development on my website at http://www.JHACareers.com/Articles.htm.
John West Hadley
Career Search Counselor
“Unlock The Hidden Job Market”
Get Career Tips at http://www.jhacareers.com/