Topic of the Week Future Focused--Resumes That Show What You'll Do For Them
- DO sell, don't tell.
- DO be honest, but not modest.
- DO solve their problems.
- DON'T have to put everything in.
Most of us would rather chug a bottle of castor oil than toot our own horn in our resume. But if you don't talk yourself up, who willé Which reminds me of one of the most remarkable people I've ever met, John Stanford. He was a top U.S. General during Desert Storm who later became the Superintendant of the Seattle Public Schools. He was an amazing leader because his enthusiasm was infectious. He had such a strong vision about where the school district needed to go that he spoke almost entirely in the future tense. He was a true visionary who died far too young.
Most of us think about resumes as a historical document that fills in all the blanks in our past. I believe that the most effective resumes are like John Stanford, future-focused. I'll give three Do's and one Don't for creating a resume that shows not only what you've done, but what you can contribute in the future. For more, check out Enelow and Kursmark's book "Cover Letter Magic" (Jist, 2010).
DO sell, don't tell. A resume is first and foremost a sales document. Forget laundry lists of tasks from previous jobs. Rather think in terms of showing how you made your company money, saved it money and solved problems. There is a resume style that accomplishes this, P.A.R. That stands for Problem, Action and Result. For example, to improve marketing, I created a forum where managers could share their marketing successes that resulted in a 11% increase in sales during a down market.
DO be honest, but not modest. Most people tamp down their resume because they don't want to come across as arrogant. But the reality is that there should be nothing subtle about a resume. Most studies show that the average recruiter or HR person only spends half a minute or so with it. So you've got to make it shine. Resist the temptation to embellish or lie, but do confidently assert what you've accomplished.
DO solve their problems. I can hear what you're thinking, how can I solve their problems before I start working for themé Welcome to the Internet. If the job opportunity is important, then you should invest the time in researching the company. But don't stop at the company web site and looking up old articles in the newspaper. Got to financial web sites and see what financial analysts have to say about the opportunities and threats facing the company. Also talk to customers, vendors, in short anyone you can think of.
DON'T have to put everything in. 30 seconds -- yep -- that's how long the average HR person spends with a resume. That's why you need to focus on the key words that you've identified from the ad or job description. Also solutions that you've created in the past that apply to their company's current problems/challenges. Focus your resume on their needs.
Follow these tips and your resume will create a brighter future for both you and your employer.
About The Author: Bob Rosner is a best-selling author and award-winning journalist. For free job and work advice, check out the award-winning workplace911.com. Check the revised edition of his Wall Street Journal best seller, "The Boss's Survival Guide." If you have a question for Bob, contact him via firstname.lastname@example.org.