Recently, I met with Jake (not his real name), a mid-career sales professional, who said he wanted a basic resume. Jake told me, “The facts speak for themselves.” It’s not that simple.
I want to be honest in representing clients, but it’s important to do so in a way that highlights each individual’s qualifications and strengths. The resume also needs to show qualifications for the job you are applying for. Too often, clients have given me resumes that are very detailed – very factual – about jobs they want to leave behind. A good resume will demonstrate what you can do for your next employer, not the last one.
I worked with Jake, and together we produced a strong document that will speak to the kind of employers he wants to work for. Because we’ve called out some of his strongest selling points, we’ve taken the facts and made them show Jake’s value over other applicants. If you can do that, the phone will ring.
This is the only question that matters when you’re writing a resume or interviewing for a job.
Too often, job seekers talk about what they did on their last job. They use the language of that company and discuss their duties in specific details that only apply to that job/company. Prospective employers do not care about all of this information. It is not relevant to their business problem. Your challenge is to show how your previous experience and education will be a benefit to your next employer, not the last one.
I recommend that you start your job search by studying job posts for the positions that interest you most. Review 5-10 job posts. Identify common requirements and repeated “key” words. If you build your resume and prepare for interviews by focusing on what employers need, you will find that you have more interviews and faster job offers. It’s not about what you did in the past. It’s all about what you have to offer you next employer.
Everyone wants to describe themselves in resumes and job interviews by using general terms like “hard working” and “team player.” There’s nothing wrong with these phrases, but you can go deeper in telling an employer why you are the kind of person she is looking for.
Here are some examples::
Word/phrase: Took initiative to
An assistant retail manager might say: I noticed that the store manager was spending too much time doing inventory. I took initiative to learn an inventory control system, which let my manager focus on other duties.
Word/phrase: Volunteer to
A nurse might put on her resume: Volunteered to work extra shifts and be on call for holidays.
A sales professional could say in an interviewer: I have always been elf-motivated in following up with clients and solving problems in a timely manner.
A hotel employees might write in her resume: Worked proactively to identify and prevent customer service issues.
Some looking to move up from an entry level job might say during an interview: My supervisor always called me reliable because I never missed a shift, and I’m always on time.
These are just a few examples of how you can present your personal qualities in a way that will make an employer want to hire you. Think about how you go above and beyond what is expected and make sure that you communicate those qualities on your resume and during interviews. Find the right language to show what makes you an ideal employee.