When I see a common trend in inquiries, I like to share what I know to help job seekers who aren’t aware that they are selling themselves short. Here are some basics that apply to entry-level through executive resumes:
- Recruiters need to know what you do, what your employer does and what your accomplishments and achievements are. If you’re in sales, that means you need to discuss the industry you’re in, what products/services your employer markets and to whom. You’ll also need to include what states/counties/zip codes, etc., your territory, district or region includes and some descriptive information about your customers. Naming clients can give you credibility within your industry and beyond if your clients are recognizable and/or respected.
- It is not enough to say “successfully managed deliverables” Nothing expresses “success” like quantitative information. Success is measurable. Did you deliver a $2 million IT project on time and on budget despite serious testing issues and/or a 60-day, no-fail deadline? Say so.
- If you revived/fixed a project or product that a succession of predecessors failed to deliver, take credit.
- Avoid obfuscation. Recruiters are smart people who are assessing whether or not you’re qualified. They also want to determine how good a candidate you are. Honest work has value and there will be other employers who need the skills you have if you can confidently explain how you apply them and what the benefits/results are for the customer or employer.
- Don’t assume that the reader will understand your industry lingo and/or acronyms or know by osmosis what you do. Take nothing for granted. Anyone who is transitioning from the military or who works for a defense contractor, take notice! The best strategy is to write using understandable (clear) language for a well-educated HR recruiter, who will likely put the first set of eyes on your resume. You can wow the technical guru when you get to the interview stage.
- No one will “read between the lines” to figure out what you do. If they must do that, you won’t get the interview. Jobs have become more complex. If you manage complexity well, that’s a competitive differentiator and can be articulated.
Ellie Vargo, MRW, CCMC