As a recruiter, I use this exercise with problem resumes that just aren’t getting people interviews. First I need to explain why the world’s greatest resume focusing exercise works. Then I will explain the exercise.
For years the joke has been: “Yesterday I was a truck driver. I passed a test today, so now I am a network technician. What’s a network?”
If you started out as truck driver and worked your way up to become the COO of a company, that’s great. Don’t mention the truck driver experience, unless you want to be a truck driver again.
Your resume has one purpose: to get you an interview!
Leave out delightful tales unrelated to the job you are applying for. If you really need to show your job progression, then start out writing about your most recent triumphs at the top. At the very bottom of the particular job section write: I started as a truck driver.
So, you’ve worked there 15 years and only been a computer security expert for 2 years? I don’t care. Your resume is not a confession of crimes and psychological problems. Put down what you did for 2 years and let the interviewer find out more. Your resume is only to get you an interview. It is not a warning to potential employers.
If you emphasize what you have accomplished, the person reading the resume will know how “heavy” you are in the job you are applying for. List projects you completed, improvements you made, money you saved, and new clients you helped bring in. If the list is impressive it won’t matter that you spent ¾’s of your time filing reports and ¼ of your time as a sales manager.
Leave out disqualifiers. Emphasize how you have saved money, brought in new revenue streams, increased customer happiness, speeded up processes and helped the company succeed. Your resume is supposed to get you an interview. Leave out all the stuff that doesn’t apply to the job you want.
Something To Do Today
This exercise is to keep you from using the following idea in your resume:
“If you can’t beguile them with brilliance, baffle them with bulls**t.”
Writing exercise time. Take your resume and first expand it to 4 or more pages by including all the responsibilities and accomplishments you have ever had.
Make a new copy. Cut out every line that is only responsibilities. This second copy should list only the projects completed, customers pleased, money saved and new clients you brought in. There should NOT be any lines that say “supervised”, “responsible for”, or “supported.”
Make a new copy. Cut it down to ½ page. Yes, ½ page. List only the accomplishments that directly apply to a job you want.
Now cut that ½ page to ¼ page. Use those incredibly brief but important accomplishments in your cover letter or email body.
This is an exercise. Apply what you learned to the resume you send out for a job.
Job security – what permanent means
$250,000 too proud