Six Secrets of Resume Readers

  1. Resumes are a TEST
    • Resume readers draw conclusions from your resume about your ability to focus on key ideas, eliminate the trivial, organize your thoughts in a logical fashion, and express yourself clearly in writing. That's even before evaluating the resume's content.

      The decision of whether you get an interview is often based solely on your resume.

      This is especially true of out of town opportunities. It can not be "Something I threw together" and should be a true reflection of your good qualities.

  2. Resumes are read BEFORE the cover letter.
    • The first issue for a resume reader is whether you are qualified so we skip over the cover letter and read your resume first.

      If we are satisfied we go back and read the cover letter looking for your motivations.

      Why are you looking? What are you looking for in terms of job title (rank) and content? Willingness to relocate or commute if applicable? Whether you are affordable based upon your salary expectations or current salary?

    • Many companies use sophisticated computer programs to download, store and retrieve your resume. These systems search their resume database looking for keywords so you want to be sure to include the right ones.

      Replace the Objective or first party statements that used to go on resumes with a section called Keyword Summary. List, in multiple column format, your target job titles, product segments, advanced skills and geographic parameters.

      These programs can be thrown off by italics, underlining, abbreviations and terms that are company specific and not industrywide.

  4. This is what employers want to know about you.
    • The hardest part of writing your resume is figuring out what to say in your job paragraphs. Follow this formula and you will be surprised how easy it is.

      STAR stands for Situation, Task, Actions and Results. It is based on the format for answering situational questions in interviews. "One time we had a problem with...

      What we needed to do was…. So I did…..and we ended up with ..."

      Adapt this to your resume by first giving the reader a mental image of the environment you worked in and your individual role (situation). Describe the goals or challenges (task) that needed to be overcome. List the actions you took, changes you made, programs you implemented to accomplish that task. Tell the result. As long as the situation is listed first, the task, actions and results can be in any logical order. Your objective is to tell a compelling story about your experience.

      The traditional resume style is to use bulleted sentences on individual lines beginning with an action verb and omitting the pronoun "I". Resumes are not read left to right but scanned top to bottom in about 20 seconds.

  5. The importance of NUMBERS
    • Every job has metrics, measurements of productivity, efficiency and profit. That is how you are judged, your unit is judged and your superiors are judged.

      By including as many numbers as you can you are demonstrating you are a) Aware of the importance of your metrics and b) successful in performing your job.

  6. EMAIL is preferred
    • Email your resume as an attachment file. Do not use anything else but WORD, it is the "gold standard".

      Protect your transmission by keeping your virus software up to date.

      Do not use your company email system to send your resume. It is always grounds for dismissal.

      Set up a personal email account with a suitable version of your name, not something cutesy, anonymous or inappropriate for business.

      Test the format of your resume by emailing it to yourself. Take the time to open the attachment file and check the format of your resume. Make any needed adjustments and retest the format.