Resumés, etc.

6 Things Probably Missing from Your Resumé

What is my resumé missing?” is one of the most popular questions I receive from job seekers. The answers go to the heart of what a hiring manager wants to see in a candidate. Your resumé is the best way to showcase your accomplishments on paper and show the hiring manager that you are the most qualified candidate for the position.

Don’t be afraid to show off (while still being honest)! Your resumé is NOT the place to be overly modest about your capabilities, especially if you are looking to apply for a position more advanced than your current one.

Here are six of the most common items missing from my clients’ resumés:

1) Metrics and details. Too often resumés come to me with vague descriptions, like “Was top salesperson in SaaS group.” While this may be true, push yourself to be more precise. What is the “top salesperson” denotation measured by? How many individuals are on the SaaS team? By what amount did you perform better than others on the team? For what period of time?

Taking these into account, your description becomes something like: “Grossed highest sales in 25-member SaaS group for 2 years consecutively and improved SaaS team’s sales by 20%.” See the improvement? Don’t be afraid to bold the metrics throughout the resumé.

2) Awards and achievements. Too many resumés focus on tasks and responsibilities. Describe how your work on a project significantly impacted the company, role, or the team. Add that you were Employee of the Year in 2015 for developing an algorithm for improving the efficiency of incoming customer service ticket sorting and organization. The awards and achievements can be a separate section in the resumé or within experience descriptions, depending on the length and organization of your resumé.

3) Easily readable formats. I can’t stress enough how hiring managers don’t want to read huge blocks of text paragraphs on the resumé. Break this up into manageable bites. I recently saw a resumé that only took up the right side of the page because the template provided a huge column of white space on the left side. All the text was right-aligned. I didn’t see anything but the formatting, and that’s NOT a good thing.

4) Educational honors. Unless you’re 10+ years out of school, honors matter as do relevant outstanding accomplishments. Include them in your Education section underneath your high school. Employers both subconsciously and consciously value your candidacy more if you graduated “magna cum laude”  or were in the top 5% of your class. However, I recommend only including GPAs of 3.5 and above on a 4.0 scale. Adding these educational achievements can also make up for a lacking professional education section. So your Education section would look like this:

Education

College, Degree, Date
     Honors:
     Activities:

5) Explanations of gaps. It is better to have something on your resumé rather than a gap showing unemployment. For example, a stay at home mom with a five year gap could fill in that space with: “Starting in May 2013, I left [COMPANY] to work as a stay-at-home mom for my three children. During this time, I started my own local jewelry company, which became profitable after just 6 months, and I served as the lead planner for multiple charity events, raising over $75,000, for my children’s school.”

6) Relevant and desired skills. The most common misstep I see with the skills section is not focusing on the skills that are unique, desired, and valued for the roles that a candidate is applying for.

An inordinate number of my applicants list “Microsoft Word & Excel” as a skill on their resumé when applying for a position as a Compliance Officer. Frankly, listing this “skill” is just a waste of space; this candidate should be listing skills valued by a Compliance team’s hiring manager, like LexisNexis proficiency, in-depth understanding of FINRA and SEC rules, advertising review, etc.