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Please, Unclutter Your Resume

Posted By: Marilyn Emanuel on December 21, 2016

Over the last several years, we have seen, reviewed and made recommendations for resumes written by professionals at every career level.  We have worked with hundreds of hiring managers and we know what information on a resume attracts the attention of a hiring manager and what doesn’t.  One key point we know for sure--hiring managers are not interested in CLUTTER; they are interested in facts or RESULTS.

Fact-based resumes are stronger; a cluttered resume is inadequate.  Nearly 96% of resumes initially sent to us never show any results. Hiring managers need to see RESULTS to peak their interest, generate desire and become excited  to learn more about why you could be a good fit for their job.  This is how your resume does the work for you and gives you a better chance of getting an interview.

A few months ago, I was asked by the Houston AMA chapter to conduct a roundtable discussion on what a hiring manager is looking for.  My response was realistically summed up using only one word—RESULTS!   I went on to explain It’s not about having a resume with every bullet point resembling a “job description,” such as “managed this, or developed that, or collaborated with this team, or organized this event, or led an important project.  This is CLUTTER. 

As an employee for any organization—for profit, non-profit, or government--you are hired to produce RESULTS.  Capture your value and ROI for each directly related position and show this information on your resume.  This tactic will allow you to become the ideal candidate for your next career opportunity.    Most importantly, this is when you connect the dots and increase the success factor in landing your next desired perfect position.

Another reason why RESULTS are so important is competition.  When your resume shows RESULTS, you pull away from your competition. As a candidate at any level, you have lots of competition.  Whenever a position is posted on the internet, this is a global posting and it generates global responses.  Plus, there are more professionals looking for jobs today than ever before.  In fact, there are five generation of professionals--20’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and 60’s somethings--all competing in our vast global market place and most often competing for the same position.

Another point to consider is that no one takes the time to read word for word what’s on a resume.  Statistics show that a resume is scanned and not “read” within only 6 to 10 seconds.  RESULTS shown as numbers on a resume are eye-catching and easy to read.

Strategically, there are three questions your resume must answer to give you a better chance of having the hiring manager consider you for a position:

  1. Can you do the job? – This question is answered by a TARGETED resume.   Upfront and immediately showing your fit for the position, you must have a TARGETED summary/profile, a TARGETED professional and technical skills section, and a TARGETED succinctly-stated, briefly summarized statement of your accountabilities for each position through your career.
  2. Will you do the job? – This question is answered by your TARGETED bullet points providing your quantified and qualified RESULTS for each position shown on your resume. Examples of results--first-time only, your increase in sales and/or revenue, introduction of new products or strategies, idea generations leading to awards,  process efficiencies, market share increase, ROI, cost savings, or meeting budget objectives.
  3. Finally…Will you fit in? This is a very powerful and subjective question.  It is usually the difference between selecting candidate A over candidate B, both of whom have the same hard skills.   This is all about fitting into the company culture, or even having something in common with your potential hiring manager.  This is also based on having employment experience with a similar industry or companies with similar cultures.  This question can be answered during the interview using behavioral questions (“tell me a time when…”), also using searches on social media, professional affiliations noted on your resume, and individuals you follow on your social media sites.

Now, before you submit your resume for any position, switch hats.  Take off your applicant’s hat and put on your hiring manager’s hat.  Review your resume one more time.  Does it clearly answer the three questions listed above?   If not, remove the clutter and add your RESULTS!