Akin to constructing a jigsaw puzzle, preparing your interview-cinching resume requires the assembly of many interlocking career pieces, each with a small part of the picture on it that, when complete, produces a whole picture.
Unfortunately, it is most common for a resume to resemble a starter jigsaw puzzle that, although ‘complete,’ is rudimentary and unsatisfying to the more sophisticated hiring decision-maker weeding through dozens of finalist resumes for the perfect-fit candidate solution to their job-search conundrum.
While your resume may include the basic puzzle pieces, if it is undeveloped, it omits the rich nuances and shades of gray to differentiate you and make you stand apart from the pack. To help you visualize what I mean and in an effort to assist you in piecing together a more brilliant and mature resume puzzle, I’ll share a few good and not-so-good elements that I see when reviewing resumes.
Does your resume include very basic elements?
Many resumes deliver the obligatory framework, including some sort of career ‘mission statement’ if you will, words that articulate your ‘innovative, people-focused problem-solving abilities as well as your desire to be a change agent and revenue driver’ for the target company. Asserting your ‘senior operations or finance, or sales / marketing or medical device, etc.’ leadership of a ‘global or commercial or medical or retail or technology or human resources division/region/company,’ you promise to bring your dynamic qualities and industry-specific experience to the new job and immediately add value as a bottom-line contributor.
Moreover, these simple resumes provide a correctly laid-out, reverse-chronological experience section as well as acceptable positioning of your education and professional development information. As well, you often do a fairly good job of applying bold typeface to indicate career chapters and provide a plethora of career data for the hiring decision-maker, recruiter and/or human resources professional to absorb during the review process. As such, you create a starter resume puzzle with all the basic pieces, albeit, lacking strategic detail and complexity.
Is your resume compelling from the beginning?
The top one-third to one-half of the first page of any resume is valuable real estate and as such deserves much of the attention. Most resumes have weak introductions, thus hitting the ground lethargically. Your opening should be compelling enough to engage the reader’s further interest, while avoiding (as much as possible) too many self-promoting adjectives. If the resume is properly executed, those things will be evident.
Does your resume tell your career story?
Many resumes lack readability and are mere data dumps. Remember, this is the story of you, and as such, should highlight your career accomplishments in such a way that you will be unforgettable. Eye appeal is a readability shortcoming that immediately jumps out from most resumes I review. Volumes have been written on eye appeal; whether you are selling cheeseburgers or yourself, you must stir positive emotion in your intended audience.
For example, spell out your increased sales accomplishments (or productivity improvements or cost cutting measures, etc.). However, don’t forget to give additional information showcasing why those sales figures increased with your help. This is paramount to providing the hiring manager with insight to your specific skill set and unique value—as well as clues as to how you will fit into their culture.
Does your resume show what you can do for the company?
What is it about you and your way of doing things that will give them the boost they need? You must offer yourself as a way to heal this company’s pain points and provide clues as to how your personality will fit with the members of the team, division, board and so forth with whom you will be interacting.
As you know, during the holiday season, almost every retail manager can brag about increased sales. Most of them do little more than make sure the doors are open during business hours in order to accomplish that goal. You want to be sure to cite specific initiatives you spearheaded to increase revenue or risk the same being said about you.
Are you like most job seekers and not getting as many interviews as, or the specific types of interviews you would like? I would think your resume should take much of the blame for this. You have a compelling story to tell, and your document likely is not helping you tell that story. It probably lacks texture and the infusion of who you are personally. By digging a little deeper into the well that is the essence of your success and then expressing that in writing, you help to stir the interview pot.