Most resumes are lame because they are written in an awful language that's only used for resumes and company policy memos. I call this language Corporate Zombie Speak. It is dry and formal. It sucks the power out of your story.
You are not a "results-oriented professional with a bottom-line orientation." You are a unique, amazing person — but your power will never across in your resume as long as you brand yourself like every other battle drone in the fleet.
Here are ten things to add to your resume —and ten things to take out immediately!
Ten Things To Add To Your Resume
1. LinkedIn profile URL
2. Relevant Brand
3. Powerful Summary
4. The word "I"
5. Full sentences
6. Explanation for every job change
7. Framing statement for every employer
8. Framing statement for every role
9. Dragon-Slaying Stories
10. Your human voice
Your LinkedIn profile URL will look like this: www.linkedin.com/in/lizryan. Log in to LinkedIn and go to the Edit Profile page to set up your unique LinkedIn profile URL. Then you can add it to your resume and include it in the signature line of your job-search-related email messages.
The biggest branding statement in your resume is the job title you use at the top of your Summary. Choose a job title for a position you want, or customize your resume to use the job title you're pursuing at each company.
Here's how that will look:
I'm an HR person with a love for IT; that's why I work with employee data as an HRIS Analyst. I design and create report packages that provide insights into payroll, benefits and other HR-related data.
I'm looking to help a terrific firm upgrade its HR reporting to help its leaders make better decisions.
We notice a few things about this Summary. For one thing, the resume's owner uses full sentences rather than sentence fragments. He or she doesn't use any Corporate Zombie Speak language.
They tell their story, simply and powerfully.
We also notice that the resume's owner tells us what they love to do rather than what they've already done in their career. They chose the title HRIS Analyst for their Summary because that's the job they want next.
The resume's owner has never been an HRIS Analyst with that title before. Their last job was a Payroll Analyst job. So what? They are well qualified to be an HRIS Analyst in the next job — and they know it!
You can do the same thing the HRIS Analyst did. You can use full sentences, the word "I" and no jargon in your resume.
You need to explain why you left each job. You can accomplish that this way:
Acme Explosives, Phoenix, Arizona
2012 - 2016
Acme Explosives is a $10,000 family-owned stick dynamite maker. I was brought in to build an inventory control program, Acme's first. I got the job when Acme opened a facility in Phoenix and my previous employer was shutting down.
In a few sentences you can tell us a lot!
Now we know what Acme does and their dollar volume. Without your framing statement, we wouldn't know those things.
You have framed the organization Acme Explosives for us, and now we understand what their business is all about.
You framed your own role, too. You told us why you joined Acme and why you left your last job.
Next, you will add a few Dragon-Slaying Stories!
Acme Explosives, Phoenix, Arizona
2012 - 2016
Acme Explosives is a $10M family-owned stick dynamite maker. I was brought in to build an inventory control program, Acme's first. I got the job when Acme opened a facility in Phoenix and my previous employer was shutting down.
- I created Acme's Inventory Control program and designed a suite of reports to monitor inventory levels and outstanding issues.
- With my colleague the Purchasing Manager, I implemented the company's Supplier Quality Assurance program, decreasing returns by 32% in a year.
Dragon-Slaying Stories are short. They talk about your accomplishments — not the tasks and duties of the role!
The last thing to add to your resume is your own human voice. You don't want to sound like anybody except yourself!
Here are ten things to remove from your resume right away:
Ten Things To Remove From Your Resume
1. Street Address
2. Inappropriate email address
3. Generic Summary (or none)
4. Months you started and ended each past job
5. Company's own branding
6. Tasks and Duties
7. Praising Adjectives
8. Endless bullets
9. Old, irrelevant jobs
Nobody needs to know your street address. No employer is going to send you snail mail. You can drop out your house number and street name, and only provide your city and state or province.
Make sure your email address is professional. Save your firstname.lastname@example.org account for your personal life.
Don't write a Summary that says nothing, a la "I'm a motivated self-starter with excellent communication skills." If you are a communicator, then communicate right now, in your resume!
Get rid of boring Corporate Zombie Speak language wherever it appears in your resume. It can't help you get a job — but it will hurt you by sucking away the power in your story.
You don't need to include the starting and ending months of the jobs you've held. Just give us the years.
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When you describe each company you worked for, use your own description for the firm. Don't give us the company's branding from its website, which is bound to be boring and stodgy. We want to know what you think the company does, not what their website says they do!
Forget about your tasks and duties. We can extrapolate them from your job title! Tell us what you left in your wake, instead.
Resist the urge to praise yourself this way: "I'm a smart, savvy Marketing person."
You are not qualified to say whether you are smart and savvy, or not. Everyone who meets you gets to make that determination. Don't stoop to praise yourself!
You only need one or two Dragon-Slaying Stories per job. You don't need to list fifteen bullets after each position you've held.
All the endless bullets can do is put your reader to sleep!
Your resume can be one or two pages long.
Drop off jobs you held years ago, especially if they are not relevant to the jobs you're pursuing now.
Lastly, get rid of any 1980s-style curlicues and flourishes in your resume. Unless you are a graphic designer the simpler your resume, the better.
It's a new day. You can sound like a human being in your resume now. The more human you can be on paper, the more compelling your pitch will be. Try it and see!
Forbes.com | September 12, 2017 | Liz Ryan