Proof Not Praise

It seems that at the dawn of a new year someone always announces that for the coming 365-and-a-quarter-day cycle, there should be a new resume, and not just a new year.

The worst example, which I must admit even I fell for (for a while), was the ridiculous video resume. When first approached to be an (unpaid – that should have been my first clue) advisor to a company whose name I forget, by people whose names I forget, they had a great reply to my comment, “It’s hard enough to get employers to read resumes; do you really think they’ll watch a video?” I forget their reply, but I remember attending a few meetings before regaining my senses. It can happen to anyone. It’s nothing of which to be ashamed, as long as you learn from the experience.

I was recently reading a book that referenced the presidential election of Dwight Eisenhower. His presidential campaign was the first to utilize the services of an ad agency. He apparently did not like the idea, but he gave his approval. He was literally sold to the American people like a box of cereal. And, of course, it worked. General Eisenhower became President Eisenhower.

If you want to get your dream job in the New Year, you need to do the same. Sell yourself like a box of cereal.

When you purchase something, anything, the manufacturer’s marketing department makes certain to let you know about the product’s benefits. They make promises. And the smart ones provide proof. They back up their claims. In clinical studies it was shown that our soap does not dry your skin. Nine out of 10 dentists… You get the idea. And I would hazard to guess that those are the products you buy.

And this brings me to the first paragraph – the so-called “Professional Summary” – of far too many resumes. They begin with adjectives. “Outstanding” is my favorite. It is amazing how many outstanding professionals can’t find a job.

The most valuable “piece of real estate” on a resume is the top of the first page. Resume recipients are usually very tired from reading resumes. They (I admit it, we) are fed up with looking at resumes. We miss things. So for 2021 the new resume should be one which does not require the recipient to work.

In journalism it is called “burying the lead.” It was a cool September night. The wind was blowing gently from the southwest. The moonlight offered a romantic glow to the pedestrians walking on Main Street. It also provided ample light for murder!

That may be how a novel is written, but not a newspaper article. Murder comes first. It also, figuratively speaking, needs to come first on a resume.

Have you ever gone to a networking event and introduced yourself thusly? (Now that is a good word with which to end a year!) Hi. I’m Jane. I’m an outstanding… Of course not. You’d sound like a total fool. So why do it on your resume? It doesn’t read any better than it sounds.

No employer cares what you think about yourself. They want to know what you can do for them. The only way to convince them is by telling them what you have done for your current and past employers. So start your resume with a half dozen bullet points highlighting your accomplishments. Numbers are important. Quantification is important. Reduced employee turnover to record numbers doesn’t mean a thing. Reduced employee turnover to 3% from 12% in one year means a great deal. So don’t bury the lead with nonsense about how great you think you are. Show the resume recipient why others think you are great. Show them why they should interview you. Show them why they can’t afford to let you go and work for their competitor. Don’t praise yourself; prove your worth. That’s the 2021 resume. Everything else stays the same.

Good luck and may 2021 be a year of Good Health, Happiness and Prosperity.