Candidate’s background:
Jeremy came to me with a very average résumé not unlike many others I see on a daily basis. While his résumé presented an overview of his jobs with accomplishments scattered throughout, it lacked the appeal to make the most of the 7 seconds his résumé would get in front of the hiring manager.
Jeremy wanted to leverage his banking experience to secure a hybrid sales and operations management role. His old résumé wasn’t getting his foot in the door, and not surprisingly as it simply served as a narrative of what he had done in past engagements. In today’s economy and job market, a résumé has to be much more, and instead of simply presenting what you have done, a résumé instead needs to present a strategic image of what you have done that positions you for what you want to do. Long gone are the days when hiring managers had the time to determine what a candidate’s transferable skills were, and instead we now live in a time where you have to be explicitly clear on a résumé as to the value you can offer a prospective employer.
Résumé strategy:
The first step in revamping Jeremy’s résumé was to remove his outdated objective statement. A résumé should never open with an objective statement as it wastes the most valuable real estate on page one with what is most likely a self-serving statement that tells the employer nothing about what you can do for them. Instead a qualifications summary, based on a clear understanding of the keywords (skills, experiences, qualifications, etc.) that will attract the target market, should be developed. Take a look at the before and after examples shown (if not pictured view online at and gauge the value the objective statement holds versus the fully developed qualifications summary.
Moving on to the professional experience section, Jeremy’s original résumé was a list of bullets that did little to draw the reader’s attention to the most important pieces of information. When a reader looks at a résumé his/her eyes should be immediately drawn to the accomplishments presented. To do this most effectively, a paragraph and bullet point combination is best. Using the paragraph to convey the highlights of what you did on a daily basis, the attention is placed on the bullets that communicate how you went above and beyond and contributed to an employer. Take a look at the before and after versions, do the endless bullets on the before version allow for prioritization of content? Do they draw your attention to what the candidate did best? In the after version you will notice your attention is immediately drawn to the bold part of each bullet point which communicates the results of the candidate’s actions. Use this strategy to make sure the screener maximizes their 7-seconds in front of your résumé!
Lastly, the other main item that was tackled in Jeremy’s résumé was the formatting. The most effective résumés have a balance of great content and great design, so do not spend hours working on the content and only minutes working on the formatting. Through some added color, consistent formatting selections, incorporation of unique “challenge” statements, and utilization of the paragraph and bullet format, Jeremy’s résumé emerges as a document that will likely receive more than the average 7 seconds during the screening process.
Candidate’s Comments:
“I have already received several compliments on your work from peers, recruiters, and employees at FedEx Kinko's that helped print copies of my new résumé. Thanks for the great job.”
Image taglines:
Before résumé does little to engage the reader.
After résumé, through a blend of great content and design, started receiving accolades immediately.