What is a resume?

A resume is a summary, a sketch, not your curriculum vitae or your whole life on two pieces of paper.  Here is what some people think is the difference

handshake19The whole purpose of a resume is to get the hiring manager interested enough in what you can do for him that he will contact you for more information and to see if you are a “fit” for the job, the company and the team. 

Yes, what you include in your resume is important, as are the words you chose to use to describe your actions, but it is as important to eliminate fluff, wordiness and irrelevant topics.  It has to be short and answer the question – why should I hire this person?

[ tweet this! “A resume is a piece of advertising designed to get you an interview!”]

A resume is a piece of advertising.  And the more tightly you can target it to that particular hiring manager, the more likely you are to get the interview. 

You have to answer the hiring manager’s “pain”.  Why is he going through the pain of posting and interviewing when he really wants to be getting the job done?  What has he run out of that he needs to buy it from you or your competing candidates?  How can you supply him with the answers he needs to know that you are the one who can make his pain go away?


What does the hiring manager really need? 

When you agonize over your resume or, alternatively, have someone else write it for you, you are thinking about yourself and not about that hiring manager.  It is as if you want to go to the prom, get all dressed up and then go stand outside the door, waiting for someone to invite you. 

Do you know what you have to offer that hiring manager as well as what he needs.  Can you speak his language? Use it when you talk about how you already fixed that problem (for someone else)? Describe how you can do it again, perhaps even better since you have learned more about it.

Make it easier to write your resume/advertisement!

Dragon Green

Dragon Green (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Resumes are notoriously hard to write for yourself because you don’t have the list of words describing what you have done.

Don’t start with adjectives, start with verbs.  What tasks have you accomplished?  What did you do? 

I love PAR statements.  Some call them dragon-slaying tales.  Describe the problem (what was the name of the dragon)?  What action did you take?  (Which tools did you use and how did you approach the dragon?  How did you slay it?)  Then what happened?  What result was achieved?  (Did the villagers go on to harvest more than they could eat in two decades?)  What are your dragon-slaying stories?

Click here for help with your PAR statements and dragon-slaying stories


revised 4/19/17

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