If you’re in an active job search, you know that it’s a jungle out there. Your resume needs to be fierce to capture the reader’s attention and land the best interviews. But is your resume a lion or a lamb? Here are guidelines to gauge your resume’s “fierce-factor”:
Lion Resume: Includes a Resume Title
Lamb Resume: No Resume Title
A “lion” resume roars from the outset with a bold, clear resume title that immediately communicates your career goal (e.g., “Award-Winning Website Designer,” “Licensed Educator Transitioning into Corporate Training,” or “Fortune 500-Experienced Executive Assistant”). Whether you are remaining in your industry or changing careers, the title sets the tone for your document and removes the guesswork for employers. Hiring managers are inundated with resumes and rarely have time to try to figure out what you want to do. If your resume lacks a title (think “Silence of the Lambs”), you’re missing the opportunity to grab the reader’s interest.
Lion Resume: Highly Targeted
Lamb Resume: Unfocused
Some job seekers try to be all things to all people when looking for a new job. But if you cram in too many unrelated job targets in one resume, or you try to detail every single thing you’ve ever done in your career, the end result is an unwieldy document that lacks focus. Instead of meandering aimlessly like sheep in a pasture, your resume should provide the razor-sharp focus of a lion stalking its prey. (They don’t call it a “job hunt” for nothing!) Even though it will take a bit of extra time, you’re much better off creating multiple resume versions if you have more than one job target.
Lion Resume: Strong Qualifications Summary
Lamb Resume: Weak Resume Objective
If your resume contains a cliche-ridden objective like “seeking a rewarding opportunity with advancement potential,” get rid of it. You’re wasting valuable space focusing on what you want as opposed to what you can do for employers. Instead of a weak objective, harness the power of a strong qualifications summary. Written as either a brief paragraph or a few hard-hitting bulleted statements, a qualifications summary profiles your most marketable skills/qualifications and highlights your stand-out achievements. When done well, a qualifications summary entices hiring managers to keep reading your resume and it can help you land in the “must-interview” group.
Lion Resume: Has “Meat”
Lamb Resume: Has “Fluff”
Fluff may be cute, cuddly, and irresistible on a lamb, but it’s a detractor on a resume. What, exactly, is resume “fluff”? It can be several things – none of which are good.At its worst, “fluff” is a kinder, gentler euphemism for exaggerations or lies on a resume. Misrepresenting your skills, qualifications, or accomplishments might initially get you an interview or even a job offer, but when your lies catch up with you down the road this can be grounds for termination.
More commonly, resume fluff refers to one (or more) of the following:
- An overuse of flowery adjectives or descriptors without concrete examples to back them up. If you describe yourself as an “excellent communicator,” “dedicated team-player,” or “outstanding problem-solver,” for example, you need to offer specific examples of how you leveraged these traits and skills to deliver results for your employers through the use of accomplishment statements. Otherwise, these phrases are just meaningless “fluff-fillers” that lack the requisite heft to be taken seriously.
- Content that is not relevant to your job target.
- Too much focus on your everyday responsibilities and job duties (what you did) and not enough emphasis on your accomplishments by showing examples of the results, benefits, or outcomes of your efforts (how well you did it).
- Information that is not quantified by numbers, dollar amounts, percentages, before/after comparisons, or some other measurable outcome. The better able you are to provide evidence of how you improved processes, revenues, productivity, customer satisfaction, profit margins, and the like, the more seriously your claims – and your candidacy – will be taken by employers.
When reviewing the content of your resume, ask yourself, “Where’s the beef?” Your resume should be packed with meaty examples of ways that you met or exceeded the expectations of your employers.Unleash your inner resume-writer beast and your new “lion” resume will reign king of the job-search jungle. Best wishes for a successful job hunt!
Senior Resume Writer, ResumePower.com