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Career-Life Times, Issue #63--Why So Many Resumes are Ineffective
November 07, 2009
You should click on the birdie to...
Resumes aren't my specialty. There are already 17 million resume "experts" online (at least it seems that way). I have neither the desire nor the time to join or compete with them. But occasionally I receive a question about resume preparation that prompts me to search for a good resource to which I can refer people.
If you perform a search on "sample resume" plus the job title (for example, "executive assistant sample resume"), you'll often find dozens of f-r-e-e examples. Some of the styles and formats are different, but the basic content of most resume examples--showing how to describe your experience--is usually very similar.
And usually very bad.
The problem is that most resume examples show you how to list your responsibilities and duties, but totally ignore the most important element of your experience--the RESULTS you've achieved.
It boggles my mind that so many so-called resume experts apparently have no clue about what hiring managers really want to know about you.
Here's an important tip: most job descriptions are written by HR people, not hiring managers. Even if the position description says "responsible for selling widgets," the hiring manager does NOT want to read on your resume that you were "responsible for selling widgets" (responsibility). He DOES want to read that you "increased widget sales by 10% over a six-month period" (result). See the difference?
If you want your resume to do its job (get you an interview), make it action-packed and full of results!
Here's how Aaron Patzer, CEO of Mint.com (who is hiring, by the way), puts it: "I don't care where you went to school or how much experience you have; show me what you've done."
Finding good examples of this is challenging, but here are some resources you should take a look at:
(1) "How to Write a Resume (that gets job interviews)." This is a series of helpful blog articles by Kerry Taylor of Squawkfox.com: Click here.
(2) A good sample resume that shows how to include results and specific achievements when writing about your experience: Click here.
(3) Guerrilla Resumes. This is an excellent guide by Kevin Donlin and David Perry, two guys who get it; they know the old-fashioned resumes still being prepared and sold by so many "experts" simply do not work well enough in today's extremely challenging job market. Instead, they offer some of the most innovative and effective tips I've come across. This guide isn't f-r-e-e, but it's less than $30 and get this: if it doesn't work for you, they'll refund your money and pay you an additional $50. Click here.
"Why do you want this job?" This is a very common job interview question that many candidates answer honestly--and that can be a mistake.
Here are some honest answers to that question:
"I've been laid off and need a new job."
Any one of those may be the true reason why you're applying for the position, but none is a good answer.
Why? Because they're all self-centered; they're all about you-you-you. Yes, the question is asking why you want the job, so it seems logical to give an answer about your wants and desires. But that isn't really what the hiring manager wants to hear.
So, when you are asked during an interview, "Why do you want this job?" don't tell the truth if your reason is self-centered. I'm not saying you should lie. I'm saying you should give an answer that is still honest, but focuses on the hiring manager's goals and desires rather than just your own.
Find a reason that will make the hiring manager feel you will be a valuable member of his/her team, because you share a common interest.
How? Research. Before your interview, study the position description as well as the mission of the organization. Why do the position and the organization exist? The hiring manager is responsible for helping the organization achieve its goals, so you need to convince him/her that you are eager to help with that.
If you know the hiring manager's name, you might be able to do research on him/her, too, through sites such as LinkedIn.com.
Try to match your personal values and desires to the organization's or hiring manager's goals. If, for example, the organization manufactures solar panels (a product that helps the environment), you might say, "I've always been passionate about environmental issues. This position would give me the opportunity to use my skills and experience for something truly worthwhile: promoting alternative energy solutions that reduce pollution and conserve resources."
That reason is not self-centered; it matches the goals of the organization and the hiring manager and is much more likely to create a favorable impression than simply telling the "I need a better job" truth.
Have you thought about the impression your email address might create about you? If not, you should. Some people never receive serious consideration for jobs because of the email address they include on their resume.
Does your email address hint that you party a lot? That you think you're sexy? That you like drifting, karaoke, tattoos, puppies or Jesus?
If your email address says anything about you that a hiring manager might consider unprofessional, or is too personal, change it!
Here are some Twitter tweets (posts) with information you may find helpful:
TIME SENSITIVE OFFER: Attention female job seekers, age 25-45: You can apply for a F*REE job search makeover from Good Housekeeping TV if you act quickly (and don't mind traveling to New York). Get all the details here.
The Career Novelist: A Literary Agent Offers Strategies for Success. This ebook, according to one of my favorite writers (Dean Koontz), is "Packed full of fine analysis, solid advice, and thoughtful reflection on the state of contemporary publishing. It’s further distinguished by more common sense than any book of its type that I have ever read. A treasure.” Ever thought about how cool it would be to become a best-selling author? (Hasn't everyone?) If so, you'll want this ebook. You can download it F*REE here.
Online Library of F*ree Ebooks. This site has many digital ebooks on a variety of topics (including careers). You can read them online or download them to your computer. You have to register first, but there's a f*ree option that gives you access to five ebooks (of your choice) each month. For more info, click here.
Best Career Strategies. I've produced an ebook called "The Best Career Strategies of 2009: How to Get Hired and Get Ahead Even When the Economy is Getting Worse." It's loaded with powerful tips -- and it's F*REE! Go get your copy here: BestCareerStrategies.com
Job Interview Success System. The job market is worse than ever, but you don't have to go it alone. Get step-by-step help, and a big advantage over your competition. All the details are here: Job Interview Success System.
A young executive was leaving the office one evening when he found the CEO standing in front of a shredder with a piece of paper in his hand.
"Listen", said the CEO, "this is important and my assistant has left. Can you make this thing work?"
"Certainly", said the young man, flattered that the CEO had asked him for help. He turned the the machine on, inserted the paper and pressed the start button.
"Excellent! Excellent!" said the CEO as his paper disappeared inside the shredder. "I need two copies of that."
So, what did you think of this issue? Any suggestions? Topic ideas? Questions? I really appreciate your feedback. Please send me a note at Bonnie@Best-Interview-Strategies.com
Please forward this to your friends!
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P.S.S. I apologize for the glitches (especially in links) you may see if you receive this as straight text. If you can receive your email in HTML format, choose that and it'll look better. (There may still be some odd formatting quirks, though.)
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