Hiring managers are inundated with resumes and often take only a few seconds to skim each one before they file it in the circular trashcans under their desks. If you’ve been pounding the pavement in search of gainful employment but not getting any nibbles, it might be that your resume is seen as full of ‘fluff.’ Pull it out right now, take a look, and make these changes before sending out another one:
- Do you use vague words like ‘few’, ‘many’, or ‘often’ when describing your accomplishments? Hiring managers want to see concrete evidence that you’re a performer, so make those more specific: ‘increased sales 28%’, ‘simultaneously and successfully managed seven multi-million-dollar accounts’, and the like so they can see what you’ve actually done.
- Do you use meaningless titles like ‘top performer’ or ‘a take-charge manager’? Again, use specifics to show what you did that earned you a top-performer spot (and do you mean you were #1 in your company? department? region? or were you ‘among the top performers’?). No fluff and no fudge.
- Are you lacking these concrete numbers? Then describe your job results fully: do you consistently rank highest among your peers or have you successfully met extremely tight deadlines or stayed within strict budgets?
- Have you saved your company or department money? If so, that’s certainly something every hiring company would be interested in hearing about. What did you do that saved money and/or time (remembering, of course that time equals money)? How much did you save them? Approximate amounts or percentages are fine.
- Do you list basic computer skills on your resume? It’s pretty much a given that everyone should know how to use MS Word and Excel these days. If you are well-versed in software that’s unique or vital to your industry or job function, list those instead and state how proficient you are in each.
Now, throw away those old, fluffy resumes and start sending out ones that will work hard for you.
About this Examiner: Kathryn Marion is the award-winning author of GRADS: TAKE CHARGE of Your First Year After College!, the most comprehensive resource for navigating the world of work and independent living after graduation, as well as host of the book’s companion resource site, www.GradsTakeCharge.com. The print edition of GRADS: TAKE CHARGE is available through Amazon and other online booksellers. The e-book edition is available through e-junkie.
Kathryn also coaches students, graduates, and career changers as well as consults with small businesses and aspiring authors.