Resumes should be a solid representation of you and what you want in your career.
Graham left a leadership role in medical device company. He was done with leadership, just sick of it. All he wanted to do was sell. “Just give me a bag and leave me alone to get results,” he said.
Graham had not looked for a job in a long time. He was coming from many years in leadership with the same company. He spent some money with a resume service and got a one page resume. It looked ok on the surface but Graham really hated it.
I met Graham as a referral from my business coach Sherry. She knew a person who knew a person. That is how business contacts are made – through networking like that!
I took a look at Graham’s new resume and had to agree with him. It was awful.
The way to measure effectiveness of a resume is not just the way the resume looks. Does the resume actually support the candidate’s overall objectives? NO on both counts in Graham’s case. Plus the resume service just created the resume. They did not help Graham navigate the job search world. He had no idea where to get started or how to use this new resume. Even if the resume was perfect, which it was not, Graham did not know what to do with it. That seems wrong.
Here is what we did:
- We corrected Graham’s contacts. The telephone number on the resume belongs to Graham’s wife, not to Graham – kind of a basic problem.
- We added a headline identifying Graham’s ideal job. How is anyone supposed to know what Graham wants if there is no headline? The headline informs the reader. The reader will consider whether everything else he / she reads after that supports the headline.
- We simplified. We took out every other word like a sculpture leaving only the essential information that supports the ideal job.
- We added accomplishments related to his sales goal. The original resume was just a list of tasks related to Graham’s former leadership position. Not an accomplishment to be seen in general and no accomplishments at all related to sales. But Graham had many sales successes. Accomplishments are like adding color to a black and white movie. It makes everything make more sense.
- We took out anything that was not sales related. It is not necessary to talk about overall business results if Graham does not want to be a general manager any more. So out it went.
It took one meeting and a few hours of time to restructure Graham’s resume to support his goal to find a position as a sales rep. We spent the next meetings teaching Graham how to optimize his LinkedIn profile and use LinkedIn for networking.
This is more than a resume. Resumes are the foundation of job search these days but they are not the most important job search tool by any means. Graham’s first resume was awful because it did not support his career goals at all.