The purpose of your résumé is to get you an interview. You want people to look at your résumé and think, “I really got interviewed by this person!” Remember that your résumé does not get read, it gets scanned. People think, “Oh, my résumé gets read!” No, it doesn’t. It gets scanned and the people who scanned them are looking for a few key things: how long you have worked at the companies you’ve worked for, i.e., exact dates, what you did for them, in very clear terms, and how well you performed. It’s that simple.
You have to remember that these people are reviewing 180 to 200 résumés a day. They don’t read any of them. They scan them to look for some of the things they are looking for. So, this means that you have to, when you write the name of your company on the résumé, explain what that company does. There are 7.1 million businesses in the United States and I guarantee you the people looking at your résumé don’t know what 98% of them do. I get résumés every day from candidates who write down “ACME INC. 2015 – present” and never explain what Acme Inc. does. So, make it real clear, if it’s not obvious, in parentheses next to the name of the company what the company does.
Then make the title of what you did very clear in terms that anybody can understand. A title of Analyst I can mean hundreds of different things. Change the title on your résumé if you have to make it clear what you’ve done. Sometimes candidates say to me, “Well, that’s what my title was.” Okay, fine, put it down if you want to, but if people don’t understand what the hell an Analyst I is, you’re screwed. I’ve had numerous candidates over the years who had titles like customer advocate, customer liaison, client specialist and a few other esoteric inventive titles that really meant “customer service.” So, in writing a résumé, simply write the title “customer service.”
Last, and probably most important, right down how you performed in as many concrete terms as possible. Remember, stories sell and numbers tell. If there’s any way, put in your résumé statistics or some kind of figures – that you bold – so they jump out at people. Increased profits 23%. Decreased department costs 10%. Was 120% of Sales quota. Decreased turnover 12%…The more you can express your performance in measurable terms, the better off you are.
The statement you are making with your résumé is this:
- Here is who I’ve worked for…What they do in very clear terms that anyone can understand.
- Here is how long I worked for them.
- Here is exactly what I’ve done. And here has been my performance.
- I am an excellent employee and what I’ve done for them is what I can do for you!
And, by the way, your résumé needs to be in chronological order. Ninety-five percent of functional résumés (the kind that have paragraphs about all of the things you’ve done and then the list of who you worked for at the very bottom) get pitched before they get scanned.
I forgot to mention, 60% of the people that are going to initially scan your resume don’t really know what they are looking for, professionally. They are usually some underlying, albeit they are nice, sincere and well-meaning, they really don’t know anything about the profession that you are in. They were instructed by one of their superiors to, “look through those resumes and find me a few that I ought to interview.” They may be qualified to know what they’re looking for, but most of the time they’re not.
So, look at your resume and ask yourself, “is someone who really doesn’t know what they’re looking for looks at my resume are they going to see the quality of person that I am?”
If a résumé “scanner” likes what they see, they simply pick up the phone and call you about an appointment. That is exactly what you want