Almost every job seeker has made the same, tragic resume-writing mistake at some point during their career.
Millions of people are making this mistake right now!
Too many people write their resumes with the wrong goal in mind. They want to fit in. They want to sound “professional.” They end up writing their resume so that it sounds like every other job seeker’s resume!
They write their resumes using such stiff, colorless language that all the good stuff disappears from the page.
Your personality, accomplishments and point of view get wiped away. Then you sound like just another battle drone — no one special. That’s a crime!
You are incredibly talented, vibrant and unique, but no one will know those things about you unless you bring them out in your resume!
Compare these two Summaries from a job seeker’s resume:
Summary Version One
Multi-skilled Business Professional with experience in aerospace, pharma and manufacturing seeks new challenge where I can use my skills to help my employer succeed.
This Summary is a good example of zombietastic resume language. This is the horrendous way most of us have been taught to write our resumes.
What is a Multi-Skilled Business Professional, anyway? Anyone who has ever set foot in the business world could claim the same ridiculous, say-nothing title.
You are much more than a Multi-Skilled Business Professional!
Right at the top of your resume, in your Summary, you need to tell us what you do for a living.
You have to make it clear to the person reading your resume —that is, your possible future boss — what position you want to hold in his or her organization. They cannot process the rest of your resume until they know what you plan to do in your next job.
Don’t stoop to praise yourself by calling yourself “multi-skilled.” Babies who can’t yet sit up on their own are already multi-skilled.
Tell us something powerful about you, in place of boring boilerplate zombie language!
Unless you are pursuing jobs in aerospace, pharma or manufacturing, why tell us that you’ve spent time in those industries? It only hurts your brand to tell your possible next boss about the three unrelated industries you’ve worked in before.
Your past industries are not relevant to a hiring manager in a different industry. Leave them out of your Summary. For instance, if you’re applying for a job in the pharmaceutical industry and you’ve already worked in that industry, then emphasize your pharma background and don’t mention aerospace or manufacturing.
Here’s the humanized version of the same job seeker’s Summary. This time, you’ll brand yourself for the job you want.
Summary Version Two
Office Manager with Finance and HR Background
I’m an Office Manager with experience creating financial reports and managing my region’s HR function in addition to keeping my office running smoothly. I’m excited to help a busy CEO with scheduling, event planning, customer care and purchasing — and to keep their team well-informed and happy.
Something momentous happened between these two versions of the same job seeker’s resume. This job seeker made a big decision.
They decided to focus on Office Manager jobs. That was a hard decision, because the job seeker has worked in Purchasing, Finance and Operations in addition to Office Management.
The job seeker said “I have to decide who I want to be in this job search. I love managing an office and keeping an over-stressed CEO sane. That’s what I want to do. I’m sick of hiding behind that generic ‘Multi-Skilled Business Professional’ brand. That’s not me!”
What happened when our imaginary job seeker made the decision to brand themselves as an Office Manager with the ability to create financial reports and run HR for a branch office, too? Everything changed for the better!
Now that the question “What kind of job are you looking for?” has been answered, everybody’s task is easier. Headhunters can contact you or not contact you based on the jobs they’re trying to fill. Hiring managers can make a quick decision about your resume (either “Yes! I’m going to need a new Office Manager when Sally retires next month” or “No, I don’t need an Office Manager, but I’ll send this resume to my colleague Gail, who is looking for one.”).
Here’s what held this job seeker back for months: their indecision about their career direction.
That’s understandable. Most of us don’t have a career coach whispering in our ear to say “You are fully capable of getting the job you want. You only have to do two things:
1. Decide what kind of job you want, and
2. Brand yourself for the job you want!”
We’ve been taught to brand ourselves for every imaginable job we could perform, but that’s a big mistake. We’ve been taught to use zombie language in a resume — another big mistake. We’ve been taught to steer clear of a human voice in our resumes — but why?
The old, mechanical working world is falling away. People hire people. If somebody doesn’t like the human voice in your resume, they don’t have to hire you! You wouldn’t be happy working for that person, anyway.
It’s a big mistake to write your resume for a machine. Even if you pitch your resume into Black Hole recruiting portals — and I hope you do not, as that is the world’s worst way to get a job — a human being will still have to read your resume before you get an interview.
If you send your resume directly to your hiring manager in each firm you approach (here’s how to find that person) you can forget about the machine entirely, and write your resume to appeal to just one person.
That’s how human beings have communicated for centuries. Don’t you deserve to claim your human power in your resume —the most important branding document you’ve got? I think you do!