What Resume Format is Best?
Talent Acquisition Recruiters are surprised on a daily basis by the poor quality and lack of attention to detail that is found in most resumes. Even if your resume lands on the desk of a ‘kind’ or ‘nonjudgmental’ recruiter, you are still likely to pay a hefty price for submitting a mediocre resume. For example, let’s say the salary range is $90k to $110k. For an exceptional candidate that shows to be a good match to the job, you can expect the company to come in closer to the top of the range. For someone who looks like a match but is not confident in their abilities and shows moderate attention to detail, the offer comes in at $90k. That is a potential $20,000 loss.
Let’s look at it from the positive side. I recently developed a resume, LinkedIn profile and provided job search and interview coaching to several clients resulting in a $30k to $40k increase over their current compensation. These results are very real. The client was the same person before they engaged me as when they received the outstanding offer. Here is what made the difference:
- A resume that professionally presented accomplishments and their career journey transparently and succinctly.
- A LinkedIn profile that was consistent with the resume, and was effective in branding my client based on desired career/next step goals.
- Greater self-awareness that enabled my client to speak confidently and articulately about their strengths.
- A professional demeanor, starting with the resume (the first impression), that commanded making a competitive offer.
- A strong work ethic to search the online job boards (LinkedIn is the best but a couple of others would be advised) on a consistent basis to find the better quality openings at the best paying companies.
- Use of an intentional job search networking strategy on LinkedIn.
- Effective interviewing skills.
So what resume format is best (choose one of three choices listed here)?
1. Aesthetically designed format with use of color to add some excitement.
2. One-page responsibility-based resume.
3. Achievement-based resume.
And the answer is…
When written correctly, achievement-based resumes are the ones that get applicants noticed. These are the ones written with the recruiter or hiring manager or future boss in mind, because they provide clear, measurable descriptions of your outcomes. This is what Google’s top recruiters are really getting at when they suggest: “Accomplished [X], as measured by [Y], by doing [Z].”
Let’s rewrite those four examples from above to show it in action. You’ll notice that for readability’s sake, sometimes this will actually be written as Y-X-Z or Z-Y-X or other combinations. The key is simply to include all three elements:
- Grew website digital audiences from zero to 15 million visitors per month by running effective marketing campaigns and recruiting 45 new high-performing writers.
- Saved the company $9 million in five months by reviewing current technology vendors; renegotiating five neglected contracts and replacing two legacy vendors.
- Increased sales by 9 percent MOM for the seven months I was in charge of a five-person team, by implementing advance scheduling and friendly internal competition to improve team’s morale.
- Achieved 98.5 percent customer service “5-star” reviews in my team by rewriting call scripts and empowering team members to make any “good faith adjustment” under $50 without escalation.
Your goal is to leave a hiring manager thinking something along the lines of, “Wow, if she increased sales by 9 percent at her pervious company, I wonder if she could do the same thing here?”
Juxtapose that against the other formats’ inevitable questions: What the heck did she actually do there?
And you can see why Format #3 will always be the winner.
Carl Nielson is a career and job search coach with over 20 years of corporate human resource management experience. He founded Success Discoveries to serve individual needs. You can learn more about Carl on his LinkedIn page at https://www.linkedin.com/in/talentstrategist/ and at his offering website at http://www.successdiscoveries.com
If you’d like to schedule a complimentary one-on-one phone consultation, go to Carl’s calendar.