The Perfect Resume (IMHO) pt.2 – Experience

7 03 2010

I apologize awesome folks.  Busy as always is never an excuse to neglect helping others.  So I’m back.  I’m here.  I’m yours.

You guys are craaaaaaaving this.  Based on the number of hits from part 1, I have decided to bring you part 2 to this series!  Let’s deep dive into the meat and potatoes of a resume.  The experience section. It’s one that gets a ton of variation in formatting and information, so let me help you understand how to start thinking about it better and organizing your story.

Here’s the thing about resumes.  A trained recruiter will probably only spend 30-60 seconds OR LESS reviewing yours before they make a decision about whether you should be passed on to interviews.

If you have 30 seconds to convince someone to give you a chance, you’re going to want to highlight your most important accomplishments in each role and prioritize these things as the first few bullets in your experience section.  Make sure that every word on the page is necessary and adds value to your story.  Even something as simple as dates in a role can show 1) commitment and tenure, 2) promotion rates, and 3) years of experience.  Because of this, it’s important to show both Month/Year that you started and ended each role.  Those little details and small changes can tell an employer a lot!

Let’s talk more about bullet points

If something’s not adding value, remove it or consolidate and demote it to the last bullet point!  Here are some questions you should answer in every bullet point under your experience section:

  • What did you improve in the company/role?  (Increased sales by 326%….)
  • What was amazing about this?  (…within one month…)
  • How did you do it?  (…by restructuring the sales incentive program to refocus on A, B, and C.)

What’s not included there?

  • I was amazing.
  • Fantastic.
  • Efficient.
  • Awesome.
  • Great.

Let the employer decide for themselves what is amazing, fantastic, and efficient.  You just state the facts about your contributions and what you did to elevate your past employer or role to the next level.

I also really dislike seeing 13481758 bullet points under each section.  Be concise – give 3-5 bullets that have more meaning.  When I see a resume with 3257109 bullets, I get frustrated.  Make it easy.  Synthesize your work by only including what matters.  We’ll interview you to uncover the other details on HOW you did it.

I love numbers!

Using numbers and metrics can also really help to show the speed, scope, volume, and impact that you have left behind.  Employers want to know that you have the basic analytical skills to measure the results of your work.  If you never tracked your work before, you should start!  No matter how well you do, nothing illustrates your achievements louder than numbers on a resume.

If your resume isn’t already formatted to consider these things I said above, revise it.  Then let me know if this changes how many call-backs you’re getting!

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3 responses

11 07 2011
John Groth

It’s amazing how many resumes show little or no measurements. If you improved something-how much? A 2% sales increase when everone else was down 10%+ is a great achievement. However if everyone else is up over 10% it’s not so great. So along with the numbers when writing a resume be sure the achevement is relative and tell us so. Great tips in writing a winning resume.

28 08 2011
Stefanie

Thanks for adding, John! Very true.

9 12 2012
test

Hi, after reading this awesome paragraph i am also happy to share my knowledge here with colleagues.

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