The Resume: From Which Side of the Desk are You Reading It?

contributed by Dr. Stephen Bangert

It is generally agreed that a resume is an essential tool both for managing your career and when searching for a job.  But how should it read?

A recent article referenced a Career Builder survey noting that 51% of hiring managers said they use a computerized applicant tracking system, and when read by a human 38% said they spent one or two minutes viewing it, while 17% said they spent less then one minute reviewing a resume.  In short, you have precious little time to make a favorable impression.  So again the question:  How should it read?

Let’s look at your resume from the perspective of the reader.

When a hiring manager reviews a resume for an opening, an anticipated need or to assess available talent, they want to get a sense of corporate level, accomplishments, and credentials.  If the resume “passes” the first read, the second is a more in-depth evaluation of your  accomplishments, the significance of what was done, and career progression.  Thus your resume needs to accommodate the reader and deliver a message that they can remember about you and the potential value to their organization.

So here are some tips for you to consider:

  1. If you are beyond beginning management, DON’T  try this at home!  It is dangerous to write your own resume.  This is not a do-it-yourself project.  Your resume represent you, your professional image.  Most people are not professional writers, they lack perspective and find it hard to be objective.  Suggestion: Call Executive Coaching & Consulting for a critique and advice.
  2. Your resume needs to have a single message.  What is the brand that you are promoting?  How can you verbalize this message?  What do you want to implant in the mind of the reader?
  3. Your resume is your personal marketing tool.  It needs to highlight your skills and achievements and needs to get the message across without getting lost in detail.  Remember: less is more.  Ideally it will leave the reader wanting more and asking questions—thus the need to contact you.
  4. Project value by quantifying your achievements.  This puts your achievement in a context and shows the significance of your actions
  5. Electrify your resume.  Reading resumes can be boring.  Help your resume stand out through the use of action verbs that convey a dynamic and energy.  You might also sparingly use emotionally charged words.
  6. Check your resume for spelling, grammar and content.  Have others read it to ensure that your statements make sense.


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