Throughout my career I've read a lot of resumes…A LOT of resumes. There are three key questions that my hiring teams look for when reviewing a resume. If your resume is not answering these questions, it can decrease your chances of landing an interview:
What makes you qualified for the position? As basic as it sounds, this is really the first question you need to answer with your resume. If you don’t meet the qualifications of a position you apply for, the employer on the other end of the screen has no idea why you applied. My advice is to go after the positions for which you at least meet the “must have” requirements. If you believe there may be some question about how you meet the qualifications, use a cover letter to pro-actively address this. If you do meet the qualifications, make sure your resume highlights the most relevant experience.
What value do you bring to this position? The best resume advice we ever give starts with prompting our candidates to ask the simple question, “So what?” for most of the bullets on their resumes. This approach highlight results in a way that underscores the value that you bring to the table as a candidate. It can make all the difference in separating your resume from the rest.
Employers can assume most what you do based on your title and where you worked. What they don't know is why it mattered. Listing tasks you complete each day is not as important as how well you delivered on those tasks and the impact that you had. Compare this before and after of the same person's resume:
Completed roll-out of national safety program
Led roll-out of new safety standards nationwide reducing Incident Rate from 4.2 to 2.8 year over year resulting in 2 day reduction in median days away from work
See the difference? Don't sell yourself short. It's okay to celebrate success, especially on your resume!
What do you want to do? It’s true, sometimes the answer to this question is actually “I don’t know.” I would be happy to help you figure this out. If at first glance, an employer can’t tell what you are looking for, or worse, it’s comes across that you don’t want their job at all – you may not get the chance to answer this question in an in-person interview. A solid objective statement at the beginning of your resume can help answer this question. If this important question isn’t answered effectively, a hiring manager’s response could be something like this:
“It says here they would like a supervisory position. This isn’t a supervisory position, try to find someone more focused on this position, not the next one.”
“Hmmm….well, it’s clear from this objective they don’t even know where they are applying. It says they want to work in distribution at my competitor down the street.”
“Great resume, but I can’t tell what this person is looking for. They’ve got a lot of great, related experience, but what do they want?”
Your entire resume should tell your story in a way that allows future potential employers to imagine you on their team and helping them achieve their goals. Are you qualified? How did your your work matter? What do you want? Position your experience to answer these top three questions in a way that will help every employer take notice of you and what you have to offer.
Got a resume puzzle that needs solving email me or comment here, I'd love to help you.