Throwaway Resumes Don’t Give a Reason to Care

I have the blessing and curse of being the blunt one in the family.

Thus, my lifelong lessons in communication balancing blunt with tact, effective with clear, empathy with accountability.

It is a driving factor in being a Career Coach and Resume Writer. I love positively challenging people to think differently and remove their blocks through words, storytelling, and the unexpected.

Bluntness is a great tool to craft a powerful brand and career story. Because it gives you the reader’s bottom line question: “Why do I care?”

The reader is the hiring manager, recruiter, etc.

This question can sound short or even rude. But there is something worse.

All too often, the reader throws away your resume without even asking this question. They cut through all the minutia, ending the review with an “I don’t care.”  

That’s worse.

Your resume is about them. Their challenges, problems, and goals – and how you are a solution to their critical needs. This is your focus.

Put another way: it’s not what you want to tell them, it’s telling them what they need to know.  Stick to the parts of the story that are relevant for them.

Do you know a bad storyteller? Someone who insists on peppering a 30 second story with unimportant, mindless details that drags it to a 5 minute story? All the while you’re screaming in your head: “cut to the chase!” – yeah, that’s how they feel reading a resume with every detail of each job from day one. They just don’t care.

Here’s how you change that attitude: write to what is important to them. Be clear, be direct, be demonstrative, be the solution.

The reader cares only when what is in your resume directly relates to them.

Be kind to your reader – and get an interview – by being rude to your resume. Splice it down to the critical “this is why you should care because it makes your life easier.”

Or, send that fully loaded resume and risk the reader saying “I don’t care” and missing out on a call.

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As an award winning, published, Resume Writer & Career Coach I help amazing people get career happy.

Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more.

All opinions and views are my own (unless attributed). They are also normally spot and have a touch of humor because I’m obsessive about career topics and my dog thinks I’m hilarious, not just his meal ticket.

Do you know why no one calls you for an interview? You’re telling them not to.

Not you directly, but you in your resume. You’ve trapped it in a vicious politeness cycle. It all starts with not being able to take a compliment and ends in sabotaging yourself in your resume.

All because you are too polite.

This is a unique politeness. It is an extreme avoidance to bragging. This politeness is exhibited in many ways, such as:

  • Using your job description as bullet points.
  • Your opening tells the reader what you want.
  • There is no substance to the information.

You are playing it safe and describing why you were hired. You are also being a bit admirable in not wanting to be a braggart.

Yet the problem with this avoidance behavior, this politeness is this:

No one cares what you were hired to do – they care what happens when you do it.

You’re right about bragging, it isn’t the way to go either. Here’s the problem with that: :

No one is going to believe what you say because you said so – you have to prove it.

If you can’t brag and you can’t be too polite, then what do you do?

Tell your story.

Learning to tell your story solves both problems – and it opens the door to interviews.

A Crash Course In Storytelling

Every good story has an arc. Good arcs have certain elements: set up, action, highlights, failures, corrections, resolution. A good story gives the reader something that intrigues them, piques their curiosity, excites them. It make them want to keep reading and find out how the story ends.

A good story resonates with the reader because something within the story resonates with them.

Your resume stories should align with what is important to your reader. Don’t write for you, write for them. To do this, you need to do a bit of research. What is important to the position, team, customers, industry, company, etc.? This is the THEM FACTOR.

Generate excitement and keep them hooked in the story with framing. Use the parameters of that ideal job as your framework. This further entrenches you in the mind of the reader.

What is the bottom-line purpose of the job? How is success in this measured? What actions do you take to achieve this bottom line? How do you prove excellence in those actions? What are the most important skills you must possess and be able to master? This is the DETAIL FACTOR.

Now you have the framework to write those stories. And all the components to get to an interviewer.

Story Building Steps

Remember the THEM FACTOR? That is how you will frame your story – starting with the most important part to the reader.

Step 1. Give a basic sketch of the situation.

Let’s say you were hired to increase the number of email subscribers for an online platform. Some of the things you did were:
– research what was working in the industry, what wasn’t
– analyze the current system
– work with Marketing to understand how the collected information would be used
– use a new software to redo the process
and you increased the subscriber base 15% in 30 days.

Step 2. Prioritize

Great, now you have good baseline story elements. When writing ot the sketch, lead with what is most important to your reader. What do they value the most?

  •  The software you used
  • Your problem-solving ability
  • Your teamwork (with Marketing)
  • Your research and analyzing skills
  • The number increased or the time

Depending on their priorities, this can start in many different ways:

  • Increased subscribers 15% in 30 days…..
  • Resolved longstanding problem….
  • Modernized process integrating ABC software to…
  • Coordinated with Marketing….

In the next step, the DETAIL FACTOR comes into play.

Step 3. Fill in the blanks

There are two parts to knowing what to fill in the blanks with: skills and attributes.

Skills

The details contain the hard and soft skills. These are the keywords you want to incorporate into your resume to pass the ATS system. ATS is Applicant Tracking Software, the scanner used by over 90% of Fortune 500 companies to parcel resumes. It eliminates nearly 75% of candidates because they don’t match the job.

Attributes

Read the job description again after discerning the hard and soft skills desired. Read it this time just to get a feel. Research the company. In all your research, what is the feel you get for the company? Do they value community involvement? Do they encourage growth? Are they excited to do what they do? What’s their vibe? What kind of people are looking for? Does this jive with you?

Fill in your story using descriptor words that match both you and their energy, feel, or vibe. Done authentically and your resume will attract the human reader after it passes the ATS.

When a person reads a story that
– has meaning to them (aligns with job)
– captivates them (details the skills/attributes they want in a candidate) and
– delivers a satisfying conclusion (result)
They’ll call the hero of that story for an interview.

The End.

 

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As excited as you get in getting the call, that’s how excited I am in telling your story. If you need help telling your story, reach out. I would love to help you tell your story the way you want it known to get you where you want to be.

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As a triple certified as a Professional Resume Writer, Career Coach and Social Media Brand Analyst I help amazing professionals get career happy.
Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more.

Or click here  – Consultation – to schedule your free 30 minute conversation.

Does Your Resume Pass This Two-Word Test?

One of the biggest mistakes I see on resumes – from college graduates to CEOs -is that their resume, and specifically the statements therein, fail a simple two-word test.

So what?

If the reader asks that question after reading your summary – fail.

If the reader asks that question after reading your bullet points – fail.

It’s so easy to fail this test when we start with the wrong information and wrong mindset.

The information is your job description.
The mindset is footnoting your past.

No one cares what you were hired to do, they care what happens when you do it.

• Hired to recreate distribution list. – So what?
• Increased subscribers by 5,000 by updating distribution list with XYZ technology. – Value delivered.

How do you transform a so what statement into a value statement? Ask a few questions and write forward.

A few questions.

Why did you do this task? How did you complete the task (what skills, technology, attributes did you use)? Who did you work with and how? What were the benefits or results of you completing this task?

Detail out the information for these questions, dig deep, gather as much as you can.

Put the story together about this task, assignment or project.

Write forward.

Write to where you want to go translating the information in a meaningful way to the reader.

What is most important to the reader? Is it your problem-solving skills? Is it increasing the number of subscribers? Is it working on or leading a team?

Whatever is most important to the reader of your resume is your guide to detailing your information.

  • Problem solving: “Removed longstanding roadblock to distribution list by solving..”
  • Subscribers: “Increased subscribers by 5,000 in only 30 days by….”
  • Leading a team: “Pulled team together and guided …..”

Start with the wow then follow with the how.

Your resume isn’t about you, it’s about the reader. To grab and keep their attention you must answer their most important question:

“What’s in it (hiring you) for me?”

 

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If your resume doesn’t excite you, sound like you or represents the you that is going places, let’s talk. I want you to discover the you that is hidden and position you to move forward in your career.

As a triple certified as a Professional Resume Writer, Career Coach and Social Media Brand Analyst I help amazing professionals get career happy.
Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more.

If It’s All About Who You Know & Most Jobs Are ‘Hidden’ – Do I Really Need A Resume?

Yes.

How’s that for a short and sweet article?

If your understanding of a resume is a recap of title, duties and company names, we have a lot of catching up to do!

Many, many, many, years ago a resume might have been this type of recap. Something that served for both applying for a job and filling out an application. But today, something like that is like an office having a rotary phone with no voicemail. Completely inappropriate and utterly useless.

An effective resume tells your value story, in your voice to get you the recognition and connection to achieve your career goals. It sets up all your career communication: interviewing, networking, LinkedIn, etc.

Let’ dive in by taking a look at what a resume is and is not before we get into why it is critical for your career.

IS NOT

Your resume is not about you.

It is about the reader. Do you know why I don’t state something like “looking for a position where I can add value and grow” on the top of your resume? Because the reader doesn’t care what you want.

They care what you can do for them. What’s in it for them? What do they gain by hiring you?

It is not a biography, tell all or epic novel.

One of the hardest parts of building your brand is taking out what is not important to your audience. The reason this is hard is two-fold:

1. We may get over excited wanting to explain the depth of our background. No one cares about every little project or task we’ve done. It’s too much.

2. We devalue ourselves and don’ think anything is important because it’s ‘just what we do’

It’s a what have you done lately world so your most recent experience is most critical. However, demonstrating a history of growth and increasing impact is equally important. Let’s just leave off the part time job you had in college since you graduated college 20 years ago.

IS

A story that you define the narrative.

Your resume is the opportunity to tell your story they want you want it understood, not necessarily the way it looks on paper.

It is a way to make that oddball job or unfortunate position fit into the greater narrative.

Every experience brings with it the opportunity to learn. Good or bad, there is always something to learn. And that is part of your story.

For the good jobs, did you fix a certain problem, create a new revenue stream, improve the customer experience? Why were you there and what value did you bring?

A future journey not past narrative.

If I were to tell you what I did in a previous life working in the financial industry, compliance things, it might make you yawn. It might also make you wonder how that ties into me being a career storyteller. I would need to tie the two together to make you care or at least be interested.

The way to do that is to use your future to define your past. If your target role is a promotion, find out what is important for that position. What are the responsibilities, how is success measured, what skills are needed? These answers become your guide to writing your background.

Your bullet points now will describe demonstration of how you have used those skills in previous roles. How you had similar successes. Proof of possessing desired skills and traits.

Is it beginning to make sense that your resume is not just a fact sheet thrown together to fill out a job application? Good!

Beyond the paper

An effective resume is your value proposition that comes together at the intersection of your brand and the market needs.

So how is it the foundation of career communication (LinkedIn, networking, interviewing, etc.)?

You have the blueprint. By demonstrating your value, the ROI for hiring you in your voice you know how to convey your value in any forum to educate, engage, and excite.

BUILDING AN EFFECTIVE RESUME

Let’s do a quick overview of how we build a resume that serves as this important foundation.

Change your mind set.

We start with knowing it’s a story, not a data sheet.

We discover what is important to your audience and use it as a guideline.

We prove value, skills, success based on the measurements your audience is looking for.

Why do I care?

For each role there was a purpose for you being there – what was it? Did you achieve that goal? Did you make a difference?

For your bullet points, no one cares what you were hired to do. They care what happens when you did it. Take a list of responsibilities and turn them into proof points.

What was the problem (similar to your ideal job, company or industries problems), how did you solve it? Who did you work with, how did you work with them, what did you do, how did something benefit? The beneficiary could be a client, coworker, team, process, idea or company.

Describe the scenario to give context.

– Increased sales 25% – So what? Did you inherit a book of business?

That is a meaningless number without proof. Your audience wants proof because they are not going to believe you just because you said so.

– Increased sales 25% by reestablishing ties with neglected secondary partners….
– Increased sales 25% within six months by designing new widget for whodonits….
– Increased sales 25% after eradicating longstanding backlog in processing…..

Make it personal.

Become alive within your resume. Make it sound like you. How do you think, how do you approach a project, how do you strengthen relationships, how do you do what you do? Use words that resonate with you.

When it comes down to two equally qualified individuals, the one that fits in with the culture is going to win.

How will they know if you fit in the culture if you don’t let yourself shine through? Use words that resonate with you to let your voice be recognized.

Putting it all together.

Now that you have the idea of the building blocks of your foundational resume, how does this translate to all other career communication?

Because you know how to tell the story. All the hard work and heavy lifting has been done in the resume.

Interviewing

More than likely you will be asked, “tell me about a time when….”. You have the answers in your bullet points. Here was the problem, here is how I solved it by working with whom, how and here is the result.

You’re following the good old STAR method – Situation, Task, Action, Result.

Networking

Too often we use our title as our introduction. You give the power of meaning to your audience. But, since you now know your value, you can engage and set the tone.

The opening “I’m a financial advisor” now becomes “I’m a retirement coach. My clients actually retire early with solid financials to enjoy their life.”
Another benefit of your resume is it gives you the confidence to tell your story in an authentic way. It’s not made up, it’s not foo-foo language that doesn’t sound like you. It is the you that you have forgotten about and can now easily communicate.

It’s the you that is going places.

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If your resume doesn’t excite you, sound like you or represents the you that is going places, let’s talk. I want you to discover the you that is hidden and ready to move forward in your career.

As a triple certified as a Professional Resume Writer, Career Coach and Social Media Brand Analyst I help amazing professionals get career happy.

Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more.

Don’t Fudge Your Resume, It’s Not The Movies

I’m not a car gal. Although I live with someone who is a fanatic. His dream car is a ’66 427 Ford Shelby Cobra and even had a poster of Ken Niles on his wall as a kid.

Needless to say, we saw Ford v Ferrari this past weekend. It was wonderful, I highly recommend it.

There were a couple of points he could call out that weren’t accurate. (No spoilers here) This led us to wonder, how much more was fudged or made up.

I assume there was liberty taken to make it a ‘better’ story, more compelling. I don’t know that it was needed, it was a very engrossing, entertaining story.

But that’s Hollywood, they can get away with it.

But you can’t.

Not on your resume. Not in your interviews. Not in representing yourself (your personal brand).

But I see it all too often. It’s explained with one of two excuses:

1. The ATS system is hard (I can’t get past the computer!)

It’s a screening tool, of course it’s hard. It kicks out nearly 75% of all candidates. If it were easy, what would be the point in having it? Would you want to be the person who has to sort through 300+ resumes for one job? And half of those are nowhere near qualified?

2. You have the capability (I can do it if someone would just give me the chance!)

I’m not saying that you cannot. What I am saying is just because you have the potential isn’t a valid reason to represent that you have done it. No.

 

Years ago, I interviewed a young lady for the position of a broker’s assistant. On her resume, she noted that she was proficient in Excel. When I asked her about it, she stammered then admitted, “I haven’t really used it, but I know what it is.”

Strike one.

A few moments later she stated she “isn’t very good in math.”

Forget the strikes, you’re done. When you have to put stock trades in, math is important. I need you to be good at it.

 

Here is how you can address these lacks in an honest manner:

1. If you have not done a task, take a step back and look to see what skills, tools or knowledge needed to complete the task. Give an example of using these that demonstrates value in doing so.

2. Let’s say you’re required to know ABC system but don’t know it. But you learn systems fast. State this fact with an example that demonstrates how you learned another system and put it to good use.

Notice what both of these options have in common – you have to prove it, not say it. Demonstrate value.

Bottom line, don’t fudge, fluff or smidge. It’s not worth it. You ruin  your credibility.

Ford didn’t believe Shelby just because he said so, he had to prove himself.

And prove himself he did.

 

**Photos by Merrick Morton/20th Century Fox and Bernard Cahier/Getty Images.**

 

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As a triple certified as a Professional Resume Writer, Career Coach and Social Media Brand Analyst I help amazing professionals get career happy.
Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more.

 

4 Step Plan for an Awesome Resume

My dad was a mechanic. My grandfather was an electrician. My uncle led a construction crew. My DNA is programmed to build things.

It’s how I look at resumes. Building a brand.

With any good build, you need a plan. Sequential steps with each action building on the last.

For a quick read and a plan of action to help you with your resume, here is my simplified plan of four steps to build your brand for an awesome resume.

Pre-work

Before we build there is one critical step – you have to know your goal. What job are you targeting? You may be interested in several avenues, but your foundation is for one.

Step 1. Position Purpose

What is the bottom-line purpose of the position? Narrow down the entire scope to one statement. Keep reducing it until you get to the bottom-line impact value. For example: maintain revenue streams and retain clients. Or: protect a book of business from risk.

Boil it down. There may be more than one purpose. This is barebones. It doesn’t have to be pretty. It will generally fall into something to do with time or money in one form or another.

Step 2. Core Drivers

Again, we are focusing on broad strokes. There are normally three to five activities that you must do to achieve the position’s purpose. List these things. What are those things? Perhaps one is to oversee system and quality assurance processes (CTO) or maintain records of financial transactions (Bookkeeper).

Step 3. Primary Actions

Now let’s start digging in. Under each of the core drivers, what does that entail? How do you do those things? Who do you work with, how, what do you do and how does something benefit from your involvement?

Step 4. Differentials

Here is the icing on the cake, putting you in your brand. How do you do the things in your chart that is different or better than anyone else? What makes you stand out among your competition? What skills or strengths do you use in completing the primary actions?

This is the blueprint to create an authentic brand that distinguishes you, supported by demonstrated value and speaks to the needs and critical points of the desired position.

When you cover all of those bases, you’ll be the top candidate for the job.

 

⇒⇒⇒ Want a kickstart – click Awesome Chart! to download our free blueprint chart to help you get started charting the most important elements for your resume and brand. ⇐⇐⇐

Need a little more kick and some coaching to get you clear and on your way? Click here to set up a free consultation to see how we can get you momentum in the right direction.

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As a triple certified as a Professional Resume Writer, Career Coach and Social Media Brand Analyst I help amazing professionals get career happy.
Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more.

 

 

 

You Get The Most out of Your Resume – and Vacuum Cleaner – When You Turn on the Power

 

Someone asked me the other day,

“Why do I have to detail what I’ve done in my resume? If they list a task as a requirement and I list it as a duty on my resume, won’t they assume that I meet that qualification? Isn’t that good enough?”

I don’t know when they reincarnated as my son when he was a teenager.

Let me respond to those questions in reverse order:

The answer is no.

The answer is no.

Oh, for goodness sake son, stop being lazy.

My son is in his mid-twenties now. I’m not sure how he survived his teenage years, but here we are. The thing about my son at that age was he was (and is) incredibly smart. Like scary smart.

He was also crafty. If there was a way to not do something, even if it were ten times more work to do what was asked, he would find a way. He always had an argument on why the lazy or lesser way was “acceptable”.

He was tasked with cleaning his room. Not a lot to ask. Yet it was a constant nightmare. Let’s use this example – specifically vacuuming his room – to relate back to the question at hand. (I don’t know why he had the biggest aversion to vacuuming, who doesn’t love those nice clean lines in carpet??)

Why can’t I do the bare minimum – list the job description as my bullet points. Because it is like vacuuming without plugging the thing in or turning it on. You’re barely going through the motions but it’s not saying (or doing) anything.

Won’t they assume I’m qualified? Just because my son said he vacuumed, I never assumed he turned it on. He may have drug it around his room to get fake lines. My brother taught me to spell assume with, “Never assume, it makes an ass out of you and me”. Assuming is bad.

Here’s the other thing – you have competition. Let’s say you are going to apply for a job. The prospective employer has listed the duties for this job and one is to vacuum.

In your resume you list that you vacuum, or have vacuumed before.

They don’t know how you vacuum or if you’re one of those that run a vacuum cleaner without turning it on to get the fake lines. You’re leaving that assumption up to them.

Now let’s say your competition lists that they:
– Turn on the machine when they vacuum
– Vacuum the entire area
– Use the brush attachment and clean the baseboards
AND THEN put on the skinny attachment and suck up all the cobwebs in the corners, windows, closets etc.

Which one do you think the employer is going to want to talk to?

To get the job you want you need to do two things (beyond qualify for the basics of the job):

1. Distinguish yourself (what are your differentials?).

2. Prove your value to them (the ROI in hiring you).

Know your worth to outshine your competition, get the interview and negotiate stronger.

If you’re going to go to all the trouble of pulling out the vacuum cleaner and drag it around the room, why not turn the darn thing on and do it right? It will give you much better results.

As to the conclusion of vacuuming saga of my teenage son – when he moved out I ripped up all his carpet and threw it in the dumpster. Then installed hardwood floors.

Who, besides me, loved Michael Keaton as Mr. Mom?? He’s still dreamy!!

 

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Having trouble trying to describe your vacuuming prowess? Let’s have a conversation. Click here Let’s talk! to set up a time for us to talk about how we can power up your Resume, LinkedIn or job search.

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As a triple certified as a Professional Resume Writer, Career Coach and Social Media Brand Analyst I help amazing professionals get career happy.
Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more.

Your resume is a persuasive conversation – why aren’t you doing the talking?

I heard Tony Robbins say, and I’m going to paraphrase, that it is vital to know your desired outcome before you have a conversation. That way you can guide it to what you want and maximize your time. A few intents can be to inform, convey, or persuade.

Sounds like a resume to me.

Inform the reader of your qualifications, convey your value and persuade them to set up an interview.

Your resume is that initial conversation. Unfortunately, I see too many people figuratively standing in front of your target (your resume) but not doing any talking.

Let’s discover the three biggest challenges that hold most people back and get rid of that block right here and now.

Challenge 1 – Too much information

Do you know if you search for “how to write a resume” on Google, you will get 381,000,000 results in .55 seconds? I did it. Here’s my screenshot:

google search write a resume - lisa k mcdonald

That’s way too much information to read. Beyond that, I’ll bet you dollars to donuts that it is mostly contradictive. One article says to do this, another says oh no, do the opposite. It’s just too much. And no, the irony of me saying that in an article about writing your resume is not lost on me.

Step away from the research.

Challenge 2 – Talk yourself out of it

I call this the lack of permission. Let me explain.

You see, you know what you need to write.

Yes, you do.

No really, I’ll prove it to you. Answer the following questions out loud:
• What will you be doing?
• How will it impact a business, team, client base?
• What are the skills necessary to do this job?
• Can you do or have you done these things for a positive outcome?
• Prove it.

That right there – the prove it, that is important. If you were to prove it to me, you would be telling me a story demonstrating your skills, experience and results.

Don’t you think that would persuade or convince a reader that you have the necessary skills? Possibly persuading them to have another conversation?

Here is where the permission comes into play. Generally, people are afraid to write down the conversation we just had above. They say things like:
• It doesn’t sound right for a resume.
• It sounds too informal.
• They don’t know ‘resume’ words
• It’s not what they are used to.

They talk themselves out of using the good stuff because it feels different.

Let me help you with this.

It is different. And by the way, normal person, you don’t write resumes every day. How do you know what it should sound like, feel like or look like? You don’t. (I say normal person because, well, have you ever met a group of people like me? We’re definately unique in that we really like writing resumes! We know that isn’t normal, but we love it anyway!)

Oh wait, all your research tells you…. Yes, I know. But get out of your head for a minute. Remember, step away from the research. Engage more than that one section of your brain.

Tell me if you have ever thought or muttered this phrase (or something similar), “if I can just get in front of someone, I have no problem talking about/selling myself”.

If so, then you are only giving yourself permission to have that conversation during an interview, not the resume. But guess what, if they don’t know it in the resume, why would they want to set up an interview?

I am officially eliminating that excuse. I hereby give you permission as a Certified Professional Resume Writer, Certified Social Brand Analyst and Certified Career Coach.

Don’t wait for the interview. Prime the pump, get them excited – tell them what you want them to know!

Just do it!

You need to set that stage – tell them how you are the answer to their problem. Set the foundation in their mind of you, your value, your brand, your voice. Don’t waste this opportunity to tell them what they need to hear because you’re afraid of telling them what you want them to know.

Challenge 3 – They may not like it

You’re right. Some people are not going to like what you put together. I’ve been doing this for over a decade and I still can’t please every reviewer, recruiter, HR person or Great Aunt Gertrude every single time.

Some people like one page, others like three, some hate Times New Roman, others scoff at Calibri, some like visuals, others think they are distracting, there is too much information, not there isn’t enough, it should be pink, it should be red, no it should be a freankin’ rainbow…sorry, I digressed into Alex’s speech on Greys’ in planning the prom.

The point is, no, not everyone is going to like it. The point of that is good. You want it to appeal to the people and company cultures that are most like you or that are best in supporting your growth and value. Not every company is a good fit for you.

Let your value and brand shine through in your resume to do some pre-screening of companies that either don’t deserve you or are a bad fit for you.

You have permission, you know what you want to tell them – now go have some fun with it!

What challenges do you face in trying to put together your resume or LinkedIn profile? 

 

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As a triple certified as a Professional Resume Writer, Career Coach and Social Media Brand Analyst I help leaders break out of a suffocating corporate existence and into a position and place that renews their brilliance. I get people unstuck and gain momentum in their careers.
Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more about we can work together to get you moving forward.

How To Get Rid Of The Snooze In Your Resume

Snooze Resume

Manage. Responsible. Oversee. Blah, blah, blah.

These are words we often see in resumes but they are words that I call snooze words.  Really, how excited do you get when you read:

  • Manage a team of five.
  • Responsible for Midwest Territory.
  • Oversee client accounts.

I would venture to say not very excited. The words are boring and the sentences tell you nothing – nothing – about the individual or their value.

Snoozefest.

Not only do you want your resume read, you want it to mean something to the reader. The above bullets are void of meaning. They are job descriptions, i.e. what you were hired to do.

The problem with that is this: just because you were hired to do that, doesn’t mean you did it well.

The first part of waking up that resume is to dig a little deeper. What exactly does each one of those statements mean and what does it mean to the reader?

You are writing for the reader. Your main job is to answer their number one question: what can you do for me?

Let’s start with where we are – a boring, non-value statement. Ask yourself these questions:

  • Who do I work with when I do this task?
  • How do I work with them?
  • What do I do?
  • How does someone/thing benefit from my involvement?

Time to dig. What exactly does it mean to be “responsible” for a territory?

The Who: If you oversee a territory – who do you interact with? Do you have anyone that reports to you? Is there a budget? Or are you an individual sales – if so, who are your clients, partners or stakeholders?

The How: If you manage a team, how do you help them do their job better? If you are a solo sales, how do you build and maintain your client relationships? Do you have a hand in the budget?

The What: When you work with a team, what do you do to inspire them, eliminate problems for them, or improve their performance?  For solo sales, what makes you better at what you do – what do you do differently than anyone else? What strategies or tactics have you employed that have benefited your clients, you or the company? If you work with the budget, how do you keep it in line or how do you save the company money?

The Value: Does the company benefit from the above by having an increase in client accounts or revenue? Did you save the company money? Does your team benefit from your coaching by posting better numbers? Does the company clients benefit because they get better service?

Dig, dig, dig. Keep asking questions about what is involved. Remember, everything you do has value to it or you would not be paid to do it. Write all these things in a conversational tone – do not try to write ‘resume’ at this point.

Now you might come up with something like this (for solo sales):

“I work with clients to help them understand the tax change. In the territory, the state changed its taxing structure from a flat rate to a weight based. This was a huge problem for our clients. I figured out how to work within the system in terms of ordering and inventory so that the new change wouldn’t impact them and it ended up saving them millions of dollars in both taxes and inventory – win-win!”

That is quite a bit for a bullet point, but that is okay, it is a great start! Now let’s get down to the fun stuff – trimming it down and making it meaningful.

Take the most important elements of your first paragraph: work with clients on strategy, tax changes, saving millions in inventory and taxes.   This, my friends, is the basis of your bullet. We could say something like:

  • After tax changes, worked with clients on strategies that saved millions in inventory and taxes.

We could. But it is a bit boring, don’t you think? What is the most important part of this sentiment? That you saved clients millions in inventory and taxes. Then we should follow with the how. Grab your reader’s attention immediately with a benefit.

Saved clients millions in inventory and taxes  – that is our beginning.  Now the how: coming up with a strategy to counter the tax changes.

Ok, that might work, but I think we could punch it up a bit more…..

  • Saved clients millions in inventory and taxes by creating and implementing a strategy that countered recent tax changes.

Still a little boring. Also, we have an assumption in there. If it saved them millions, it is assumed it was implemented.  How about….

  • Saved clients millions in inventory and taxes with a strategy that countered recent tax changes.

Not bad. Not great, but not bad.  You know, we have some space here to talk about how that change was going to hurt them.

  • Saved clients millions in inventory and taxes with a strategy that countered recent tax changes from flat-rate to weight based.

Hmmm.  It needs some punch and then I think we will have it.

  • Saved clients millions in inventory/taxes with strategy that thwarted crippling product tax change from flat-rate to weight-based.

Ahhh yes, that’s it.

The punch comes in the thwarting and crippling.

Here is the final step to get to the impact with punch – your friend and mine the thesaurus.  I have at least three thesaurus references that I use. I like to play them off each other so they don’t start slacking.

My favorite is: http://www.synonym.com/synonyms.  Simply type in a word and search.  It provides definitions, synonyms, and antonyms.  For any synonym in a blue box, just click on that word and it will repeat the process for it. Love it.

Synonym

 

 

Next is good ol’ Merriam-Webster: https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus. It comes with a definition, synonyms and related words. Also, a fun little word of the day – bonus!

Merriam Webster

 

 

Lastly, there is a visual tool, Graph Words: http://graphwords.com/.  It spiders out similar words that you can click on to get a whole new visual.

 

Graph Words

 

These are a few great sites – if you know of or use something different – I would love to hear about it!

When you are finding new words, make sure to use words that resonate with you.  By all means, if you are a more behind the scenes person, do not use a strong word like ‘revolutionary’ if it makes you feel uncomfortable. Find the right fit in describing your value with your voice. That is the winning combination! That is how you delineate your personal brand – your differentials.

All of these sites are free to use and can help put a little punch in your words for a more powerful resume.  Or, as provided my friend the thesaurus, have a resume that is more potent, effectual, compelling, coercive, mighty…..

 

 

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I do what I love: help professionals break out of a suffocating job existence and into a career that renews their brilliance.

I am triple certified as a Professional Resume Writer, Social Brand Analyst and Career Coach. My clients learn to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging personal branding as applied to LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence and influence.

Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more about how we can help you.

★ To get all my latest articles, click the “Yes Please!” button on the right ★

 

 

 

CIA Strategy Makes Your Resume Irresistible

CIA Resume Writing

Years ago TheLadders did a study and found that recruiters spend an average of six seconds reviewing a resume. Keep in mind that recruiters are this laser-focused because they do this regularly.

For other audiences, including HR and decision makers, they may give you a bit more time, let’s say maybe 10 seconds.

That is not a lot of time to grab attention and get your message across.

Why do they spend so little time on this initial glance? Because they know what they are looking for and they don’t want to waste time. From their first glance to a more in-depth review, there are two questions they are constantly asking:

What can you do for me?
Why do I want to talk to you versus anyone else?

Your audience is very stealth in reviewing/reading your resume and in order to get – and keep – their attention while answering their two burning questions, you have to be stealth, too.

Like the CIA.

Direct quote from http://www.cia.gov: “CIA’s primary mission is to collect, analyze, evaluate, and disseminate foreign intelligence to assist White House the President and senior US government policymakers in making decisions relating to national security.”

What is that person doing when reading your resume? They are collecting, analyzing, evaluating and disseminating intelligence – to do what – help the decision maker (or themselves) make a decision relating to hiring.

Once they analyze, evaluate, etc., they then provide reports or briefings. In our situation, they would make a recommendation. How do we provide a roadmap that makes it easy for them to recommend you as the best candidate?

Think CIA. No, not Central Intelligence Agency, our CIA stands for: Critical, Important and Assumed.

Once you have your baseline resume put together, now is the time to get strategic and use the CIA method.

Critical – what is most important to the company, position, and team etc.? These are keepers.
Important – what are your differentials and aspects that are important for the position? These are keepers.
Assumed – what are the elements, tasks, skills, duties, attributes that are going to be expected or are common? These are strike items.

We need to do this on every level within your resume. Let’s take a Bookkeeper for example. Their role, in general, is to create financial transactions and reports. Keyword phrases include issue invoices to customers and suppliers; cash receipts; tag and monitor fixed assets; monitor debt levels; reconcile accounts to ensure their accuracy, etc.

These are all expected and routine – i.e. assumed. We could waste valuable white space by listing them out as bullets (and sound like a job description) as such:

  • Tag and monitor fixed assets.
  • Pay supplier invoices in a timely manner.
  • Conduct periodic reconciliations of all accounts to ensure their accuracy.
  • Monitor debt levels and compliance with debt covenants.
  • Issue invoices to customers.
  • Issue invoices to suppliers.

Boring! Plus, that is a lot to read to just to cover the assumed. However, we do want to include these keywords for the ATS systems.

The solution: ruthless editing, as my mentor Deb Dib would say. Cut, cut, cut. So let’s redo this so it is human and ATS scan friendly:

Bookkeeper, Company Name, Time Period – Time Period
Brief description

Customer/Supplier Invoicing | Account Reconciliation | Fixed Assets | Debt Monitoring | Cash Receipts

• Now create bullets that demonstrate your value: what was the benefit to whom by doing what.

 
We can go even deeper within statements to clarify and condense.

If you had the following sentences:

Blah, blah, blah doing XYZ for A, B, C, and exceeding customer expectations. Delivers exceptional client experiences. Blah, blah, blah….

Let’s take a look at that. We can get rid of the “exceeding customer expectations” at the end of the first sentence because it is assumed that you exceed their expectations if you deliver an exceptional client experience.

See how this works?

It takes a lot more time and strategy to think CIA yet the results are well worth it. You will transform that blah, blah, blah resume into a branding piece with condense, impactful staements with plenty of white space, which makes it easier to scan, read and identify you as the prefered candidate.

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A little about me: I do what I love: help professionals break out of a suffocating job existence and into a career, position, and place that renews their brilliance.

As the Founder and Principal of Career Polish, Inc., a national career personal branding firm, I am an Executive Brand Strategist, Resume Writer, and Career Coach. I work with individual clients, companies, leadership, and teams to identify, strengthen and effectively communicate their brand, engagement, commitment and most importantly – their value – by learning and leveraging personal branding as applied to LinkedIn, resumes, networking, communication, relationship management, presence, and influence.

Click here – CareerPolish.com – to find out more about how we can help you.
★ To get all my latest articles, click the “Yes Please!” button on the right ★