Resume content always seems to spark the ‘great debate’. What should be written vs. what should not be written – this is the burning question. What do employers want to see? How can you wow them with the wonders of you conveyed on an 8 ½ X 11 piece of paper – even if it is printed on paper so soft and thick you could make a shirt out if it?
Well forget about what should be on there for the moment. What about the stuff that should NOT be on there? Sometimes what you leave off is more important.
For those of you who have read my other blogs on resume topics, you know I have no shortage of information regarding what you should include. Now, here are the chart toppers for the stuff that should be left OFF. For each don’t I have provided some examples to help you tell your own story.
Responsible for: We all have responsibilities – in professional and personal life. Responsible for is boring and uninspiring. You should never, ever start a bullet or paragraph with that. Snorefest!
Example: Drove business development initiatives, program management, call center, and field service operations. Directed a seven-person team and managed a $4 million operating budget.
I, We, Our: This is a small sampling of personal pronouns, and also words that should not be used when writing a resume. Use strong action verbs to communicate your message. This will keep the reader engaged.
Example: Secured $14 million in incremental revenue from creative and strategic advertising partnerships. Led and collaborated with a global team that worked closely with local, European, and Asia-based resources.
Organized & Detail Oriented: As opposed to what? Hopelessly confused and unable to manage your way out of a paper bag? It is expected that you are detailed, organized, and able to communicate with others and an entire host of other things. Convey what you did in a clear and articulate manner. Give examples – make the reader understand how you delivered for your employer.
Example: Championed the development of a proprietary database to manage the firm’s high net-worth clients. Instituted a follow-up mechanism, which resulted in securing $2 million in incremental business.
Excellent with clients and customers: This screams cliché. This has no meaning except if it is backed by a situation, action result (SAR) Describe what you did for your clients / customers with a strong result.
Example: Resolved client service issues, including processing returns and tracking lost items. Recognized with the ‘President’s Gold Standard’ award in 2002 and 2003.
Team Player: I am sure you wouldn’t tell a potential employer that you abhor interpersonal communication and would rather be locked in a small room to do your own work. Leave this off! Co-workers will undoubtedly surround you. Contributing in a group setting is expected.
Example: Collaborated as part of a project team of 15 to complete the build-out of 147,000 sq. ft. of new office space for a leading retail client; maintained project schedules, led meetings, and addressed outstanding issues, resulting in timely project completion two months ahead of schedule.
You have but a few seconds to leave a strong impression. The call, if it comes, will be the direct result of a powerful resume with examples. Dust off your document, review it. Are you guilty of empty phrases? If so, it’s time for an overhaul.
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