Lately, I’ve been rather surprised at the resumes I’m seeing and the complaints people are giving me regarding the work market. It seems that some resume writers are telling people that it’s not necessary to list accomplishments on resumes and to simply state job descriptions and basic information. I’m sorry, but as a professional who has been in this business for a very long time, I have to disagree.
Employers I’ve talked to want to know how the prospective employee can add value to their team. They can say they are great at sales and marketing, but show me results of your efforts. How did you contribute to the previous employer? Give me an idea of why I should invest in you over someone with identical work traits and background. In other words, show me some accomplishments that convince me you are worth my investment dollars to hire you and help me build my business.
My Recollection of a Resume
I recall a mechanical engineer client who was frustrated because he couldn’t get an interview. His resume showed his lengthy background of successful projects, but regardless of what he tried nothing worked. In review, I noticed that his resume said nothing about how he contributed to his company’s success, only the basics of his job duties. Sure he’d led a few multi-million dollar projects, but it didn’t say anything about what HE did. When I told him this, he got mad and said I didn’t know what I was talking about; his resume showed everything he’d done. So, he sent it to a headhunter in Oregon for additional review (and at a cost whereas I gave him a free review). The person in Oregon wrote back with the same comments–his resume was general and didn’t reflect his specific contributions. His wife approached me and said to redo it. I talked to him, got more information, and rewrote the profile with details specific to him. Within a week after receiving the revised copy, he’s landed a position for a new federal project valued at over $10 million. He worked consistently after that until he retired.
Resume Writing Tips
When writing your resume, don’t just focus on the job description of things you did. Think — how did I contribute to my position to make it better? How did I add value to my employer? How do I differ from someone with the same background; what is exclusively me in this position?
Most often, when people begin thinking that way they suddenly realize a lot of things they’d forgotten. It may have seemed like it was ‘just doing the job,’ but in performing they gave an added something that nobody else can do. I do admit that for some positions finding a differentiator is difficult, but in most, when you put some thought to it, you’ll find you stand out in a way that nobody can touch.
Marketing your completed profile is another aspect of successfully finding work, but the first issue is making sure your presentation is strong, effective, and gives an exceptional view of what you offer. Once you get on the same thought patterns as managers and rewrite the resume with those thoughts in mind, you’ll have a stronger tool to leverage your skills against the competition. And in today’s job market that is one of the biggest keys to unlocking the job market and finding work.