People who review resumes hate “fluff”, those self-assessment terms that do nothing but fill space in a resume. A resume is an advertisement intended to attract the reader and make that person want to grab the telephone and call you. Fluff detracts from your purpose of creating the resume. To eliminate fluff, sell the results of your work:
Replace Self-Assessing Adjectives
Replace terms that describe character with specific content to demonstrate how you accomplished or achieved something. Rather than saying “Successful track record doing …” describe what you accomplished, the results of your work. Example: Demonstrate you are “results-oriented” by indicating on your resume a result and how you achieved it; “Achieved a 98% customer satisfaction rating with over XXX thousand customer responses.” If you don’t actually have numbers, you can approximate percentages: “Introduced new procedures that slashed cycle times approximately 20%.”
Use Numbers and Symbols
Hiring managers are charged with achieving results usually measured in numbers. Numbers and symbols quickly jump out at them, so show them you are “results-oriented rather than saying so; use numbers whenever you can. Percentages are often best as they show the impact of your efforts, but can be improved by showing the magnitude of the change; if I increased something from 1 to 2, I have changed it by 100%, but if I increase it from 100 to 101, I have only changed it by 1%. Note the difference.
Although numbers are best, qualitative statements like “consistently recognized for delivering quality results at less cost than budgeted” showcase your effectiveness even when you don’t have the actual numbers.
Don’t List Responsibilities of Your Previous Jobs – Demonstrate Outcomes
What your responsibilities were is important but often they don’t take more than a few words to say. And sometimes your title explains it all. For instance if you were a Sales Manager and a company is looking for a Sales Manager, they certainly know what a Sales Manager does, so you need not explain it. If it is not obvious what your responsibilities were, try to restrict your explanation to one brief sentence. An employer is more interested in how well you performed in the job. From that they can infer what you might be able to do for them.
Only Detail Specialized Technical Skills
Today’s employers expect candidates to know basic computing skills and programs, so usually listing them is not necessary. However, when you do list any technical skill, tell an employer how well you know the specific program by detailing what you may have created or did with it; use the term in context. Simply listing a specific program will not help an employer understand how well you know it or what your capabilities are.
If you fill your resume with the results of your work instead of fluff you should see a dramatic improvement in your job search results.
For help with this and other job search topics, email me at firstname.lastname@example.org