What is a Resume?

The best story always begins with someone interesting doing something interesting.

What does that have to do with resumes you ask.

A resume is in short, your career story. And like any good story, it’s the writer’s job to craft something that entices people to read it.

But what if my career isn’t very interesting?

Whether you choose to believe it or not, everyone is unique, and everyone has a story to tell. The trick is to make your story interesting. Or at least interesting to the person or persons you want to read it.

To begin with, let’s talk about resumes’ and their true purpose.

I’ve found that most of the clients I work with over the years don’t really understand or have forgotten what the true purpose of a resume is. Let me take a moment to explain.

The sole purpose of a resume is to get a hiring manager to pick up the phone and call you for an interview.

That’s it. It really is that simple. An effective resume should make a hiring manager want to pick up the phone and call you for an interview. With that basic concept understood, it’s easier to understand that a resume is really just a piece of marketing. And the product or service you’re marketing is yourself.

One of the biggest challenges to the execution and success of this concept is the fact that the average resume is only looked at for around 30 seconds. Yes, I said 30 seconds. That’s how long an HR or hiring manager spends on the average resume before deciding what to do with it. Into the follow-up file or dumped it into the dreaded reject pile, never to be seen again. This fact has been consistently confirmed for me through regular conversation I have had with the many HR managers I work with.

Sometimes they may not even look at it for that long. Think about it. Each company may receive dozens if not hundreds of applicants per posting. Let’s add to this the fact that the reader doesn’t really care about you, the applicant. Yes, I know that’s a harsh statement, but it’s a fact. What do they care about?

  • Keeping their job
  • Filling the position
  • Not looking bad to their superior or department head
  • Fixing the problem, or “pain” the company has.

What does “fixing the pain” mean? Fixing the pain means repairing a problem in the company. If they didn’t have a problem or a need to fix, they wouldn’t be hiring would they. There may be several reasons why a company is hiring.

  • Company expansion or growth
  • Former employee retired, quit, or was fired
  • Missing a skilled player on a team

Any one of these could cause a pain in the company. Your job in marketing yourself is to demonstrate why you are the best person to fix that pain.

To accomplish this effectively really comes down to 4 key points.

  • Clean easy to read formatting
  • Easily converts through Applicant Tracking Systems
  • Grabs and keeps the reader’s attention
  • DON’T OVER THINK IT!

Rick Murphy