Many people yearn for the death of the professional resume. Maybe that’s because it tells a savvy reader so much about a person. Or perhaps it’s because it tells us so much about ourselves. That not withstanding, it’s important to understand what skilled readers see in your resume beyond the obvious.
Here are ten of my favourite resume tells:
1. Writing skill and/or the ability to delegate. I often remind my search clients that a well-written resume does not prove a person’s ability to write well. Maybe so, but it might also show they know how to delegate to a good writer.
2. Achievement orientation. Do you devote more space to telling me about your duties or your accomplishments? I like people who give relative weight to describing accomplishments appropriate to their roles and levels of responsibility. Read: The dumbed down resume debate
3. Ability to analyze information (the job posting and any research you do), identify what matters (the company’s needs and your background), make decisions (what to share/not share about yourself), and build a rational argument to gain the support of others (your resume) – in the face of severe time and space (two pages) constraints.
Writing a professional resume is like solving a business school case. It’s not easy, but when you ace it, you make yourself a very attractive potential colleague.
4. Clarity of thought. Clear writing shows clear thinking. Whether the candidate has written their resume or delegated it, they’re responsible for its clarity. If it doesn’t read well, then I worry about their ability to think clearly. If it does read well, then I get excited about talking with them.
5. Ability to make commitments and sustain working relationships. I look at how many employers a candidate has had in the last ten years and calculate their average tenure per employer.
The smaller the number is, the less likely I am to want to interview the person. For whatever reason, they don’t form long-term relationships and/or commitments. The “why” doesn’t matter because I have to recruit people who will stay with my clients long enough for them to get a good return on their investment in the person’s learning curve. Short tenures usually don’t yield good returns.
The bigger the number is, the more likely I am to want to interview the person – to a point. If a person has been with one employer for years and years, then I worry about their ability to adapt to a new culture.
6. How well you understand your business. Have you shared the basic info used to describe companies in your industry (ownership structure, revenue, geographic scope, etc.)? When executives don’t share this information on their resumes, I often find they lack business literacy. They might understand their jobs, but they don’t get what their colleagues in other departments do, and they don’t understand the collective big picture.
7. Your professional standards. If an executive gives me a sloppy, poorly organized resume, then I wonder if s/he would use the same presentation standards for materials for their Board of Directors. If I get a neat, well organized resume, then I’m more inclined to want to talk with the sender.
8. Self/other focus. Have you made it easy for me to scan, and then read, your resume? Can I easily find your contact info? Have you given me links to your LinkedIn profile and company websites? I form an impression about a candidate’s ability to put him/herself in others’ shoes from how easy or hard it is to use their resume. Download our free ebook: How to make the most of LinkedIn for career and business success
9. Secrets. If you have more than one gap on your resume, or a large gap, I want to see a verifiable explanation(s). Give me one short sentence (25 words or less). Don’t make me wonder if you’re hiding something.
10. Quality. I look at the overall quality of your background, accomplishments, writing/thinking, presentation, etc. Your resume gives off a meta impression, a gestalt, of quality or lack of quality. It’s good to know this and check your resume’s meta message to make sure that it’s positive.
The Professional Resume is Here to Stay
The professional resume has to be one of the most efficient, effective modes of communication ever invented – for recruiters and hiring managers. I marvel at it daily. Until something else comes along that’s faster and/or better, we won’t see the death of the resume
Originally Posted on 2015/08/13 on Avid Careerist
A Career Audit will give you vital insights to plan your career. This review identifies your key strengths as well as your career development needs and opportunities for growth.