It is rumored that the only word William Shakespeare wrote on his resume was “Available.” We’ll probably never know if that is true. But it raises an interesting question. How much information is too much and how much is too little when dealing with resume copy?
The resume is a vital piece to any job search. As companies scramble to find the ideal candidate, they use the resume to screen candidates. Done right, a resume builds an instant connection with the reader and helps steer the course of the interview in your favor. If you submit a resume that piques the curiosity of the reader, he or she most likely will ask questions based on the information you provided on the resume as opposed to relying on a pre-packaged questionnaire. That’s how you know you have an “interviewable” resume, when it assists in shaping the course of the interview.
The challenge is, How does one create an “interviewable” resume, one that isn’t boring or sterile? How does one write a resume that motivates the reader to give you a call?
Write with the employer in mind
Cast aside the belief that the resume is about you – because it isn’t. Though the resume is your “story”, the heart of it should focus on the needs of the employer. When developing your resume give thought to the person who will be reading it. What are his or her immediate concerns? How will you be able to solve that person’s problems?
Though it may be difficult to pin down a company’s immediate concerns before an interview, the reality is that organizations recruit candidates for one of the following reasons: they need to replace an unproductive employee, a peak performer was promoted or left, or a new position has been created. A recruiter usually searches for a candidate who will produce certain results, one that is a skilled communicator and has a strong work ethic. If you are able to target your resume toward these key areas, you will, without a doubt, tap into the organization’s concerns.
Choose your phrases carefully
Sentence starters and appropriate use of action words all determine whether the resume is “interviewable.” Instead of using predictable phrases, think of ways to add punch to your resume. For example, instead of using increased sales by 250%…write delivered a 250% increase in sales…; instead of using ability to effectively…write demonstrated ability to effectively…; and instead of using reduced costs…write slashed costs.
When your resume doesn’t “sound” like all the others on the recruiter’s desk, he or she will take notice. You will be remembered when your resume breaks the monotony of the recruiter’s day. Guaranteed.
Have a consistent message
Don’t try to become all things to all people. If you are a CEO, don’t add a statement that indicates that you are willing to be a Business Manager. If you are a Sales Manager, don’t indicate that you are willing to take on a position as a Customer Service Representative. Get the picture? Determine what you are selling (and looking for) before you put one word to paper.
Determine your major selling points
Though you may share the same job title with many other people, your accomplishments and how you carry out your responsibilities are what distinguishes you from all the other qualified candidates. Focus your resume on not only what you did but also how well you did it. By design, what makes you “interviewable” is how you market your strengths on paper.