Before looking into how to prepare a resume for
practical use in the job search, let's define, "what is a resume really?"
A resume is a sales document, a piece of sales
literature that is critical to identifying your product.
A resume does not get you the job, the purpose is to
illicit interest from a potential "buyer"…employer
A resume is used to get you in front of the initial
decision maker, get a face-to-face interview.
It will not get you the job.
· It is the central point of your "self-marketing"
campaign, so the basic principles of marketing 101 apply.
Your resume should
position, your product (YOU) in such a way that it distinguishes you from other
products in the market.
· Your resume must give the reader as clear and concise
a picture of your product. If your resume does, then you
have an effective
"initial" sales document.
A resume must give the reader a reason to want to find
Your resume must hint at very least that there is a
strong ROI for the employer if they choose to invest in
75% of the buy decisions are made with the first
review, for your resume, the "buy decision" you want is to
get the interview.
Critical Sales Point:
As a successful transition coach
says?"People don't read" and the chances are the reader of your resume has a
number of demands on their time and a number of resumes to review.
||You have 8 seconds to catch someone's attention and 30 seconds to keep
Your resume may not be reviewed carefully; it
may only be skimmed at best. Initially it will not receive the in-depth review
you may feel it deserves, but if you make the cut, it will be examined more
thoroughly? so still very critical stage of the sales cycle in employment.
Rules for a Resume:
Really there are more opinions
than rules with regard to preparing an effective resume, but the following
characteristics are part of any effective resume.
A Resume must balance both qualitative and where
possible quantitative or measurable attributes.
Where ever possible demonstrate the ROI you will bring
through an objective presentation of your " value"
A Resume is a communications test, so a well written
concise resume is an initial indication of your ability
Avoid using the first person in your statements
Use present tense for current or most recent position
especially if your date of employment reflects #/##/##
Use a direct and active style in preparing the resume;
passive style may not convey a strong enough message.
Use positive language in describing results and
wherever possible include supporting metrics that answer
"why or how" the results were important. Be prepared to discuss
every accomplishment stated in your resume
as to the value is brought to the business.
Two to three pages is better than four, it may require
a well thought out addendum specific to consulting work,
projects, etc. to be
added or not , depending on your "message".
The resume effectively uses style, underlines, and
bolding as appropriate to facilitate an easy skim of the
document by the very
busy or less patient reviewer.
The resume is helpful to the reader; it provides
enough to deliver a subtle message. It is direct and to the point
eliminates the irrelevant.
There is a message in your resume, it has focus. The
resume should provide the reviewer with a clear introduction
to your product
The resume is not a job description or job specification
so do not write it that way… it communicates your quality.
Selectively highlight your career history but leave no
gaps. Do not include statements that are not correct or
may cause you to be
screened out for any reasons
The resume will give an indication of your writing
style, use of grammar, spelling and presentation all of which
may lead the
reviewer to draw strong first impressions or conclusions… often unchangeable.
Get your resume reviewed by someone who knows you well
and will give you objective, unfettered feedback.
Spouse or significant other
often a tough read!
The resume should deliver the highlights of your
"product". It is an overview, part
of your product marketing
and cannot present your full story.
Omissions from your resume lead to questions and
conjecture that you cannot influence, because you may not
get the opportunity.
Resume as part of your Communication Strategy:
Our resume is like all
communication, it presents a reason why you should receive consideration or are
a potentially strong candidate for presentation. A sound strategic approach
ensures that the key elements, assets and qualifications you bring are
reflected in your resume.
Carefully consider the results of your self-assessment
and personal talent inventory process results
when determining format and
content of your resume.
Understand your professional objective and ensure
presentation of your product to support that objective.
Revisit your short and long term priorities as you structure
your "sales document" as it will only bring
credibility to your presentation.
· Although secondary to your resume but also critical to
your communication, as you prepare your resume, also
prepare your "exit"
statement which explains very concisely and professionally why you are ready
for a change or
are in transition.
· Always try to deliver a consistent message as it must
support your presentation.
Be prepared to recite your Objective (also part of your "Elevator Speech") and decide if you
want it to be part of
your resume. There are different schools of thought on
whether to include it in your resume as your objective or
to create a broader
positioning statement for your resume. Your positioning statement is often the
same or similar
to your elevator speech. One approach is to use a broad Summary (maybe bullet points) of skills that matches
your objective and use the
positioning statement as an entrée to networking and interviewing; thereby,
redundancy and demonstrating some versatility in communication. Regardless of choice, be concise and to
As with any communication, the
test of your resume is whether it helps you reach your desired audience
or results. If
it does, you are well on your way!