Great Resumes 101

November 17, 2009

ABC_Blocks_“No one responds to my resume”.  It’s the most common complaint we hear.  The reasons are tough to swallow, but if you want to know the truth it’s because:

1. Your resume sucks (pardon the expression)

2. You apply to too many of the wrong jobs.

If you want to know how bad your resume is then try this exercise.  Have someone read each line to you and after each one, ask yourself these three questions:

a.     Why is this relevant to my prospective employer?

If the statements on your resume aren’t relevant to the mission, struggles and challenges of a hiring manager, how could you ever expect to engage their interest? This is why it’s critical that your resume includes an objective statement which links your expertise and aspirations to what you can deliver to a future employer, and statements that reflect your accomplishments on the job (rather than just your functions and responsibilities).

b.     How did you enhance the corporate eco-system in a direct or indirect way?

If a company is going to pay you a salary, they will most likely want to generate 5 times that amount in profits or savings.  Thus, they want to see how you have made an impact in your current or prior positions.  Did you contribute to generating revenues or profits, saving costs, or mitigating risks? Can you demonstrate that you have a relevant track record, the appropriate personal attributes, and a basic understanding of the job’s challenges to easily slide into the role?  They want to have some sense of your potential and that you have a relentless spirit to get the job done.

c.     Duh?

Worst of all, if you can say “Duh”, then you have really lost them.  For example, if you say that you’re “good with people” and you’re applying to be a relationship manager or a team leader, then that would generate a “duh” response. Instead, tell them why you’re so good with people and how you have impacted an enterprise with your fabulous people skills (an example might be that you “transformed cynicism into enthusiasm” for a particular initiative).

How do you know you’re applying to the wrong job?  Look at your resume. Does it clearly state what you’re seeking? Do you definitively demonstrate in your resume how your education, work experience and/or community service support your aspirations and how you are uniquely positioned to be hired for a very specific role or a short list of alternative roles?  If your personal mission is not totally aligned to the company’s mission, then why would they respond? Would you, especially if you have been inundated by 100’s or 1,000’s of resumes?

Read more tips on Resume and Pitch Strategies on the Get What You Set web site.

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Are You a Sub-Prime Candidate?

October 27, 2009

Just as investors view sub-prime loans as toxic financial waste, hiring managers may feel the same about your resume and the way that you interview. How could this be?housing_slump

We received a resume from a candidate with 30 years experience in the equipment leasing sector. She worked as a program manager and sales person for the industry’s leaders. She was downsized in an industry that is shrinking by the minute, leaving precious few job openings. Knowing that she will have to look to another industry for job opportunities, this is what her resume stated:

Business Objective: To obtain a sales position which will allow me to utilize my experience and skills to contribute to the success of my business group and company.

Ugh!!

She then dryly listed her functions and said nothing about her tangible and believable accomplishments. C’mon, you’ve been gainfully employed for 30 years and have nothing to brag about?

What’s even worse is that she lost a golden opportunity to tell the reader how her skills and experience transfer to another field. When we asked her to verbalize her “transferable skills”, she was at a loss for words. Do you think she’d be any better in an interview?

She could communicate the relevance of her skills by saying that she:

* Has the expertise to remove the issue of affordability out of the sales cycle by introducing a digestible payment option called leasing.

* Is a master at finding solutions that link buyers to sellers.

* Has enabled various companies across vast industries to replace no’s with yes’s, as she’s been the virtual “glue” that has facilitated hundreds of millions of dollars of commerce to flourish

By spelling out what she’s accomplished and how it is relevant for another industry, she’ll be better positioned to find a role that “transfers” her skills. The trick is articulating your professional value. Otherwise she’ll continue to be merely sub-prime and not “hiring” worthy.

Read more tips & strategies on this and other topics  from the Get What You Set web site.