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The Problem With Resumes...


Get Your Stories Straight

Not the story of why you are leaving your current job. The story behind your experience! The single, most consistent problem I come across are resumes where the whole of the professional experience section is primarily a list of ‘tasks’ – from entry level roles, right up to senior leadership. There is very little evidence of the value that people have added in their roles and very little that sets people above anyone else with the same job title.

Trust me, everyone knows that a Project Manager, for example, can use project management tools, liaise with stakeholders, work to budget and communicate with senior leadership.

BORING! (sorry, but true)

Why Do We Do That?

I believe that many of us get 'brain freeze' when we start applying for jobs and often can't think objectively about ourselves. This is due, in part, to the pressure that we put on ourselves as we go through the job seeking process. There is a big, emotional transition to get to the point where we are ready and brave enough to take the step to start looking for a new job. There has been a 'tipping point'. Whether the circumstances which led us to that decision are through redundancy, out-growing our role, difficulties with our current team members, a business culture which does not match our own requirements, or we simply need more money, there are so many things tied into our ‘jobs’ that relate to our personal wellbeing and security. Our families depend on us. Our bills need to be paid. Our car needs fuel. We need to eat.

Getting a new job is a big decision. It’s a brave step to decide ‘that’s it. I’m going to start looking for a new job’ and once your mind is made, you throw yourself into your search with both feet first.

One Big Change in Focus: Numbers = Credibility What hiring managers and recruiters want to know is:

  • Did you save money? How much?

  • Did you improve productivity? By what %?

  • Did you increase net profits? By how much?

  • Did you improve customer satisfaction? How did you measure that?

  • What was the percentage of projects completed on time?

  • Did you review the bid management process and increase your hit rates? What to?

  • Is that experience relevant to the role?

Don't Fall Into The Time Trap - Give Yourself an Hour

When you decide to start that job search, you naturally want to move quickly so you pull out your good old resume and add on your last job. You look at it, knowing that you need to tailor it; knowing that you need to show your value, but your brain freezes because you’ve looked at this document so many times that you can’t see the wood from the trees. ‘It’ll do with a few tweaks’, you think, and click ‘apply’. DON'T DO IT! 

Go back through your resume and list all of your achievements. In fact, at this point, don’t look at your old resume except to remind yourself of where you worked and when.

When making your list, try to cover a range of competencies that are relevant to your field of work. This might include Leadership; Finance and Budgeting; Communication; Stakeholder Management etc.

Think about each of your achievements as you would think about a performance management review. Try to focus on how your performance was measured and what your KPI’s were.

  • What was the issue?

  • What did you do about it?

  • What was the outcome/deliverable?

These are the examples you should include in your resume and provide the evidence you need to stand out.

Take the time and opportunity to gather your stories and your evidence. Create a repository. Pick and choose the most appropriate ones for the role you are going for and 'tweak' the wording to match the job description.

Top Tip

Use LinkedIn to get recommendations as you finish a project – it’s a great way to refresh your memory when you need examples.

Good luck! Becky

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