You might have a grammatically perfect, gorgeously designed resume that lists all the right job titles, but still fail to land interviews. If you wonder why, consider what you left unsaid.
The goal of a resume is to demonstrate your accomplishments, not to share your job description. With rare exception (military employment being one of those exceptions), most people in your industry have a general idea of what someone in your position does. What a reader needs to see is how you’ve made a difference in your role, and how you’ve accomplished your goals.
Resumes that get results include quantitative data whenever possible (the number of people you lead, how you’ve contributed to the bottom line, etc.). The ultimate goal is for the reader to say, “Wow, she’s accomplished all of this at Company X. Let’s see whether she’s the right fit to accomplish things here.”
A good way to determine whether what you’re putting on your resume is an accomplishment is to ask yourself “So what?” at the end of each sentence. If the bullet point answers the “so what” question, then it stays. If it doesn’t, then it needs to be reworded or eliminated. Consider the difference between these two bullet points:
- “Negotiated contracts and managed project timelines.”
- “Negotiated contracts to complete projects on time and under budget, resulting in $75,000-plus savings in 2014.”
Resumes that get results differentiate you from the crowd. Consider what a recruiter might say about you to colleagues. Being the candidate who has deep experience AND delivered specific achievements that the recruiter can cite makes you far more memorable.
It’s a rather radical shift in thinking. It also requires you to track the outcomes of your efforts in your current work whenever possible. For some industries, this can be a challenge. Think creatively about how you can list the solutions you’ve derived. Have you led the department in the implementation of new software that allowed your company to work more efficiently? Did you improve employee morale by launching a monthly luncheon? Resumes that get results might not include numbers, but they do show specific contributions.
If you struggle to answer the “so what” question, Merrfeld can help you identify your unique results. Our resume services include a discussion about your work history that can elicit those key differentiating bullet points. Sometimes it just takes an outside perspective to drill down beyond what you did and articulate why it mattered.
Certain things are better left unsaid, as the saying goes. For resumes that get results, however, leaving out certain things can be a deal breaker. Instead of “so what,” show ‘em what you’re worth!