Wednesday, February 22, 2012

The Simple Resume

The Resume
Specific jobs and industries sometimes have certain expectations of a resume, but space limits what can be discussed here. So, the following tips are general ones, and if you are in a specialized situation, such as engineering or law, please adapt this work to fit your need.

The purpose of a resume΄ is simply as an introduction and as a vehicle to get to the next stage in the hiring process. There was a time when there were very specific rules and formats for a resume, but that time has passed. Now the rules have changed and the focus should be on selling yourself and continuing your marketing message.

If you are crafting a specific marketing message, then the issue of truthfulness goes away. Many people have landed themselves into a great deal of trouble by misrepresenting or embellishing a resume΄. When you start your marketing message with a sense of “It isn't bragging if you can prove it”, everything that follows will then be truthful.

That said, the resume΄, like a cover letter, must be brief and concise. Again, the HR or Manager's initial “reading” of the document may only last for seconds. They may be distracted. So make your moment count.

Objective statements are pointless and a waste of precious space and time. I recommend replacing objective statements with a summary statement. If you think of a typical format, this is the first real area for content at the top of the page. Take your Core Message and put it here. Quantify and provide very brief examples to add impact right up front.

Bullet points are important and highlight action verbs. These action verbs are tied directly to the marketing message that you have tailored for the job. Remember the Nike and McDonald's discussion from earlier? The resume is another opportunity to position your product message in front of a decision maker.
Following is a sample resume from the above Retail Sales Person:

Pat Ambiguous
1313 Mockingbird Lane
Mockingbird Heights, Ohio 43017
(614) 123-4567
Experienced Retail Sales Consultant with history of 12% sales gains made possible through repeat business and excellent customer service skills. Outstanding verbal communication, mature and energetic. Motivated by success and career growth opportunities.

Relevant Sales Experience
XYZ Company, Retail Lead Sales Associate, 2005-Present
  • Provide customer service.
  • Greet, qualify and direct prospective customers.
  • Present solutions, with an emphasis on suggestive presentations.
  • Understand and overcome objections.
  • Enroll customers in credit and warranty programs.
  • Mentor newer Sales Associates.
  • Report team sales progress to management.
  • Motivate team to reach established sales goals.
    • Exceed personal sales targets.
    ABC Electronics, Cashier 1999-2001, Sales Associate 2001-2005
    • Provide customer service.
    • Engage and understand the needs and wants of the customer.
    • Solve customer problems.
    • Request Manager assistance when needed.
    • Support and assist co-workers as needed.
    • Handle cash, credit and other sensitive transactions with a high degree of accuracy.
    • Maintain a clean and orderly personal appearance and work area..

    Resume' Breakdown
    The name, address and other mundane details section is right-aligned. To my eye, this draws the attention of the reader to the summary statement. While you may be proud of your good name, at this point the HR Professional or Hiring Manager probably doesn't care, they are just scanning for what you can do for them. Bonus points to anyone “seasoned” enough to recognize the fictional address from television. Sadly, I know it from memory.

    I have just demonstrated a point. You can affect the behavior of a reader with the written word. How many people earlier looked back at the 'television' address above?
    A strong majority. They earned 'bonus points'-while I offered an important lesson.

    At any rate, the summary statement is a central piece of your sales presentation. Here is where some of the earlier work in Imagining, Reading and Core Message really starts to pay off. Simply take the notes from earlier, rephrase them, and you have a summary statement that is consistent with your sales presentation to this company.

    Relevant Sales Experience
    Please notice the word “Relevant”. This sample is designed for a 35 year old experienced person who is a bit older than the typical new hire at this company (as Imagined from Reading the webpage). Experience is not always a good thing. While we do acquire important skills from Entry Level or “Starter” jobs, they can also be an anchor and subtly present the candidate in an unfavorable light.

    The bullet points are taken from the Imagined, Read and Core Message notes. The action verbs have changed, for example, from “excellent verbal communication” to “present solutions”. While your Core Message does need to be consistent and somewhat repetitious, it should not be monotonous and robotic.

    The focus in the bullet points section is on the last or current job. This is probably more important to you as an employee, and the potential employer certainly looks at this job more closely. Also, the graphic design people I have worked with tell me that an odd number of bullet points draws the eye more effectively that an even number.

    Good luck and best wishes,

    Links to my work, “Beyond a Career Crisis”:

    Kindle Edition

    Paperback Edition


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