The one question your resume must answer!

The one question your resume must answer!

“So what?”

That’s the question.  Simple huh?  And here’s why that is the question:  

Imagine you have in front of you a pile of 100 resumes.  Put yourself in a recruiter’s shoes for a job posting of let’s say as a business analyst (or replace with whatever other job you want).  These resumes are the product of candidates with previous business analyst experience looking to join your company.  

  • You read the first one and it has a bunch of points that sound business analyst like.  Objectives look a little generic, summary of skills are decent, there is some experience that matches the job posting you are looking to fill, other experience isn’t that relevant but potentially interesting.  You know that recruiters are reported to spend only a few minutes on a resume (some are reported to be able to review one in 10 seconds) so you decide to move to the next one in the pile and flag this one as a Maybe for now.
  • The next one is a little better.
  • The next a definite No’s.
  • Five more Maybe’s
  • Fifteen more No’s.
  • A bunch of time has passed and you realize you are not even a quarter way through the pile. So you start to blast through them.
  • Ten more Maybe’s
  • Forty No’s and OMG still twenty five more to review.  So you take another swig of coffee and keep going.
  • Finally you find one definite Yes to interview
  • Five more Maybes
  • The rest No’s.

When you go back to your Maybe pile there are twenty…  You know that the hiring manager you are supporting only wants the best of the best so you know you need to whittle your maybe pile from twenty to four (plus the one Yes) so that he can interview five.  Okay here we go again.

  • First one, still a maybe.  
  • Next one, is almost the same but little better than the first…
  • The next three are basically the same.  Okay so now any resumes that are worst than the first, they can go to the No pile.  
  • The next resume is basically the same as well.  
  • Next one basically the same.  They’ve all done the same things!  Oh wait… That makes sense since they were all previously business analysts…  It’s so hard to compare… If only they gave you more information that would set them apart.  
    • Like their summary of skills; so is everyone really a self starting, highly motivated business analyst with effective communicating skills… Would you really expect them to put that they only did as they are told and confuse people when you speak?  
    • And what about their goal is to be a successful business analyst; is that important?  You’re applying for a job as a business analyst so would I expect you to say you want to be an accountant or a not-successful business analyst.  
    • And you like cooking, traveling and watching TV?  So what?  How does that make you better qualified for the job.
    • You wish that instead of telling you just what they did, they would tell you how well they did it.
  • You eventually get to five to provide to your hiring manager for an interview

You can turn your imagination off now.  So as you sit down to write your resume, make sure each point answers the question “So what” because that’s the question the recruiter will be asking themselves.  

Look out for a future post on practical steps to writing your resume!


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