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What should a resume really convey?

Functional, hybrid, chronological, federal, specialized?  No matter how many resumes you write, no matter how many resumes you post or submit, it still comes down to what exactly are you trying to say to the employer that will make them come clamoring at your feet and offer you the job you hope for.  What does your resume really say? If you’ve had your resume professionally written, critiqued by a sound writer or even if you copied your resume from what is considered by the legions of “experts” to be the right resume, why are you still scouring the want ads and various internet sites looking for a job?   As a HR specialist and career coach, I could do what others have done and give you my opinion of what you NEED to do, but I think it far better if I just ask the question plainly.  What does your resume say?  Is it a bunch of catch phrases filled with the latest techno-babble or hype phrases or as I like to call it, employment Ebonics?

So many resumes look exactly alike to me.  I have received thousands of resumes and I can attest many of them appear as if they came from Google under the search of “how to make my resume look like everyone else’s.”  Seriously, they just don’t stand out. Actually, they do.  They stand out alongside all the rest, which look exactly the same.  Sometimes the only thing that makes me take notice are the misspelled words, varying fonts and turn phrases that jump off the page as if to say, “just wanted to know if you were paying attention!”

Quite simply, your resume should tell me a little less about what you did and more about what you can and will do for me, the employer.  Okay, so you have a degree. So, you are certified and credentialed to the hilt.  SO?  Where are the details that are displayed so effectively I think, “I really want to meet this person.”     If they aren’t on the page, or on the cover sheet, you’d better knock my socks off in person.  That’s only happened to me twice.  Effective resume, exceptional character, great asset!  A resume should ring not only with facts and figures, but it should have that elusive element that makes me stop and wonder…could this person really be this interesting?  I gotta know.  Tell me how you changed the system, improved the process, went outside of your comfort zone and learned something and applied it in a better, broader, BEAST type of way.

While resumes should still have the basic information, name, qualifications, education and related experience, resumes should also have character.  What do I mean? Character. Noun. A distinguishing feature or attribute, as of an individual, group, or category. Something that distinguishes one from another, or a combination of qualities or features that distinguishes one person, group, or thing from another.  What’s so different about you?  I don’t know you tell me.


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