Three Signs Your Resume is Broken

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Make sure your resume presents your personal value proposition in the best possible way.

By the way, what is your personal value proposition?


 Resume strategies for Chicago, from Chris WestfallCompanies of all shapes and sizes hire one thing – and one thing only – when it comes to the job search process.  Whether waiting tables at Denny’s, or watching satellites at NASA, all organizations are basically looking for the same thing.

Every company needs a solutions provider.


That’s a fancy way of saying “problem solver”.

So, what’s the solution you provide?  What’s the problem that you will solve for your next employer?

If your resume is just a keyword-dense tour of your background and accomplishments, you may want to reconsider how to put your solution into your story.

Here are three sure-fire signs your resume is broken, and what you can do to fix it:

1. Your Resume Is Informative – but Not Compelling:

Does your resume read like a college textbook?  In other words, filled with boring information that defies memorization?  Turn an informational broadcast message into a “why hire me” pitch.  Consider the solution you can provide, and the call to action your resume creates.  How do you convey a compelling story, not just an informational one?  Congratulations on the historical accuracy of your CV – but if you can’t create a compelling message, your resume is going to get an “F”.

2. Your Resume Skills Are Not Expressed in Numbers:

Numbers are the universal language, and using numbers gives size and scope to your experience.  Your results become compelling when you add numbers to your resume.

For example, if you hired three engineers on your team, that may not seem like a big deal.  But, when you consider that you found three engineers in less than six months, who helped you bring in the public works project 18 days ahead of schedule, saving the City of Rochester over $25,000 in penalties and late fees….well, you get the picture.   Your resume is a picture of your skill set – be sure and paint by numbers!

3. Your Resume Doesn’t Use the Words that Help You Most

Even if you really are a dynamic, hands-on, self-starter with high energy and a can-do attitude, resist the temptation to inject empty adjectives into your story.  Words are easily emptied of their value without a context of outcomes.  Evidence of your character is found in the results you created (expressed in numbers, preferably with a timeframe, demonstrating positive progress).  Adjectives are cheap; your results are the real value.

Be specific about the value you have created with, through and for others.  While there are signs that the economy is improving, some sectors are doing better than others.  If you’re looking to make a change in your career, or transition to a new field, that change begins with your story.  Take time to consider how you are going to position your personal brand message.  Fixing your resume is the first step to creating the story of your next great opportunity.

The NEW Elevator Pitch by Chris Westfall for nookA great resource for job seekers, The NEW Elevator Pitch provides insights into personal branding, interview skills and persuasion. Whether you need to get a job, get a raise, get an investor…or just get going, you owe it to yourself to check out your personal guide to digital communication in the internet age.

NY Subway image used under creative commons, some rights resevered. Photo credit Scott Beale / Laughing Squid. Wrigley Building image by the author.

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