Want the Job? Your Resume Must be a Mirror (Not a Window)

rear view mirrorIs your resume like a pane of glass – where the recruiter looks right past you to see somebody else? Or instead, does your resume reflect your skills, qualifications and employment potential – like a mirror?

Do yourself a huge favor: in just a few minutes follow these 3 steps to update and position your resume so it more accurately reflects you…

Step 1: Assess Your Marketable Skills

This first step requires you to stop thinking about the work you’ve done – and instead think about your unique value proposition for an employer. The reason is simple: A recruiter does NOT really care that you were a lead cashier at McDonald’s. She does, however, care that you are a leader committed in high-quality customer service, even in the most difficult environments.

So, with your current resume nowhere near you, sit down and write out your top five attributes; in other words: what would make an employer interested in hiring you over the competition.

What are you really, really good at?

Do not include generic, two-word cliches like “detail oriented”, “hard worker” and “team player” (everyone says those things, making it the opposite of “unique”). Most important, do not talk about what you’ve done… talk about what you’re good at… what makes you, YOU. Examples may include:

  • “A natural leader and mentor, even when I’m learning”
  • “A problem solver; I take great pride in finding solutions”
  • “Extreme work ethic; I do good work by keeping myself motivated”

Don’t settle for less than five!

If you are a workforce veteran, have assumed leadership positions in college or early in your career, or you have completed several internships, you’ll likely have more than five.

Step 2: Assess Your Current Resume

Now open your mind, bring back that resume you hid from yourself while performing Step 1, and do an honest assessment…

Does your resume reflect at least 10 of your most marketable skills? Does the resume do most of this in the first 100 words? When you (and recruiters) are done reading your resume, do they get a sense of who you are – and how you can contribute?

Chances are the answer is no… because most resumes do not.

So… start your resume over from scratch. Dump the out-dated objective statement. Do NOT feel like you have to place your list of jobs at the top – with all the bloated responsibilities descriptions listed below the title. Instead, create a “Summary of Skills” section where, using bullets and full (yet brief) sentences, you’ll list your top 10 sellable skills.

When all done, review the very top of your new resume – the first 100 words or so.

Does the resume now reflect you, like a mirror?

Or is it still a window? If the latter, do Step 2 again (and again… and again… until you see you in your resume, like you are looking in a mirror).

Step 3: Tailor to a Specific Opportunity… and Quantify

In Step 3, you’ll ascend to the top of the resume pile by tailoring your “Summary of Skills” to specific job opportunities – every time you apply for a new job or internship. And you’ll go one step further: to show real impact and understanding, you’ll quantify each bullet.

For instance, the job description may emphasize the following points:

  • “Knowledge of social media platforms is critical; engagement is key to our brand”
  • “WordPress and blogging experience a strong plus.”
  • “The best candidate for this position is a self-starter and has a thirst for learning.”
  • “This is a virtual position; self-discipline is mandatory.”

So your top bullets – for this resume/application – will talk to these points, exactly…

  • Exceptional ability to engage on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and G+; grew Twitter account by 2,200 followers in 6 months
  • Extensive knowledge of WordPress and Blogger platforms; curate, publish and share 7 to 10 posts each week
  • A devout learner and educator – I learn by constantly reading and doing (read 10 to 15 blogs on social media and content each day)
  • Enjoy the challenges of being self-sufficient and accountable; while working primarily without supervision, exceeded Q4 2103 milestones by 132%

Like we’ve done here… you must write your resume to match the job description. Not in a way that rationalizes exaggeration or even lying; you do NOT want to cheat your way through Step 3 (remember: recruiters can spot pure BS a mile away… they look at resumes every day).

Done sincerely and accurately, this 3-step process will have a dramatic impact on your ability to sell your skill set – and create a great first impression with recruiters.

Get started, now… and don’t stop until your resume is a mirror image of you – and your unique value proposition!






MarkAbout the Author: CEO and Founder of YouTern, Mark Babbitt is a serial mentor who has been quoted in the Wall Street Journal, Mashable, Forbes and Under30CEO.com regarding job search, career development, internships and higher education’s role in preparing emerging talent for the workforce. A keynote speaker and blogger, Mark’s contributions include Huffington Post, Bloomberg News, Switch and Shift, and Under30CEO.

Mark has been honored to be named to GenJuice’s list of “Top 100 Most Desirable Mentors,” HR Examiner’s “Top 25 Trendspotters in HR” and CareerBliss’ “Top 10 Gen Y Career Experts.” Mark is currently working on two new books: “A World Gone Social: How Business Must Adapt to Survive (AMACOM, June 2014) with Ted Coine and “The Ultimate Guide to Internships (And Making Your College Years Matter Again)” (Allworth, September 2014). Contact Mark via email or on Twitter!


Image courtesy of blog.childrens.com… thank you!



This entry was posted in Resumes and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.