What does your resume say about you?

I get to look through a lot of resumes in my line of work. I know, I know, you are jealous. Who wouldn’t want to look through thousands of resumes every day? Especially when they are filled with people who are qualified, or those who couldn’t hold a job for more than 6 seconds (they just got fired again, right now!) or those with outlandish position histories? You know who you are, Mr. Fireworks Explosive Packer, and Miss Chimpanzee Trainer! (True stories) And while the vast majority of resumes fall into the “serviceable, and good enough to get a job” category, I’m noticing that more and more companies and recruiters want detail in the resumes of their applicants. I am in this bucket, trust me. They are looking for people who have the ability to sell themselves on paper, and distinguish themselves with hard facts, data and numbers.

Simply listing what you did, where and when just doesn’t cut it anymore. Especially when the market is flooded with people. What you need to be including is details about HOW WELL you did what you did. If you sell digital ad space, how much revenue did you generate in your last or best year? How much did you exceed your target goal by? Be specific. The resume is one of the few places left in the universe that you get to shamelessly “toot your own horn”, so do so. For example, a friend of mine sent me his resume to look at. When I looked at the 1st 3 jobs, they all read like this (All info has been changed to protect the not so innocent and somewhat confused:

• Budgeting, cost control and financial analysis

• Responsibilities include quarterly analysis, program review, and proposal quotes

• Monthly invoice review and unbilled analysis

I told him that he needed much more detail, and to REALLY think about what he did there. I asked him what if his company came to him and said that they had to let someone go, and it was between he and 2 other people, how would he justify himself to be the one to stay in writing?

Here’s what we finally wound up with:

• Supported XYZ Systems Engineering Program ($21 million (XXXX) and $14 million (YYYY))

• Budgeting, cost control and financial analysis of 23 individually funded task orders

• Assisted in clearing/close-out of $1.5 million of obligated/unused funds. This funding was returned the government/customer to be utilized in future projects.

Ah, that’s much better. I’d say his resume stands at least a 33% better chance (non-scientific) of getting read if a recruiter comes across it now. It has details, and tells what significant things he accomplished. It’s your resume, and your career. If you don’t own it, no one will. Keep it updated – every 6 months should do the trick. That way you don’t miss out on putting in any major accomplishments. Keep it updated on your LinkedIn profile. They have a great document sharing/hosting tool.

Toot on and be successful!

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