What is the key question you want a resume to answer for the reader?

Judith Cushman All Posts, Effective Resumes 0 Comments

You have 15 seconds to make this impression, “This resume is a keeper and I want to consider him/her for the position I’m filling.”

Clarity and brevity are the keys. Avoid self-praise, vague phrases and be as specific as possible in those 15 seconds. Telegraph strength, Stick with the facts. No one knows what strategic means any more. Who cares if you have 20+ years of experience if they are not years where you have achieved specific goals. Describing your company and the scale and scope of where you fit in helps the reader to say, “this professional has operated at the level that matches my organization and his industry knowledge is relevant.”

How big is the company? Is it a major player in its sector? Is it a start-up? What does it do? Where do you fit in – in the structure? Are you within the marketing or the corporate communications department(s) of your company? What does a title mean? After describing what the company does and the size and where the communications function reports, you can describe where you fit in. In one company a Director title is one step away from the top communications position, in another it is a mid-level title 4 levels away from the head of communications. Remember, in a resume clarity is essential so the title must be explained.

When you use adjectives the first reaction is, “prove it” and so you are casting doubt on your capabilities. Select brief stories about your work that had measurable accomplishments—all factual and impressive.

Strategic is so overused no one knows how to define it so don’t try. Avoid it and instead talk about how a program or a project you created was original and fit company strategy/business goals.

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