Great job opportunities attract a lot of candidates. This means, in order to have a fighting chance, you need a great resume.
Thankfully, the Internet is a great resource that can provide you with clear rules for writing a highly effective resume, as well as guidelines for impressing employers with standout achievements.
Those resources will help ensure that the content of your resume clearly communicates how just good you really are.
However, you may also be tempted to do a web search for some resume examples – and paste the contents of those examples straight into your own resume. Imagine the time you could save, right?
While using online resume examples to “inspire” your own resume is not necessarily a bad idea, you must know that most resume templates that you’ll find on the Internet are quite substandard – and do not have the power to impress potential employers. They may look fancy, and their wording may seem slick, but they tend to lack in a few important areas.
Which is what this article is all about.
I’m going to walk you through a few resume examples and explain why each one doesn’t work. My aim here is to educate you in aspects of resume writing so that you can make smart decisions about what information to include on your resume.
First, remember that a resume is much more than just a listicle of your job history. To knock employers’ socks off, your resume needs to show how you’re uniquely positioned to solve a specific employer’s set of commercial challenges.
Resume Example #1.
Keeping this in mind, let’s take a closer look at the following resume:
Now, the resume of an Account Executive must be focused on his/her commercial achievements. An Account Executive is a key driver of revenue for a company; as an employer you’d want to be reassured of his/her ability to work independently while consistently producing results.
The above resume example certainly makes a decent attempt to position the candidate as a standout performer through his achievements. The big problem, however, is the resume’s profile, which immediately positions the candidate as a generic, me-too, unremarkable being.
It’s important to remember that kicking off the resume with “a personable and trustworthy Account Executive…” is far from optimal.
The reality of the modern job market is that being personable and trustworthy is a minimum requirement for just about any job, including that of an Account Executive. This means that the statement in itself is redundant and a waste of resume space, as well as the reader’s time. It offers the employer no insight into why they should consider Calvin Harris above any other candidate.
A resume like this would be effective in only one instance – when the total number of applicants for this position is extremely low. Unfortunately, this is unlikely to occur in the job market of 2020; most positions attract at least 100 candidates. Some employers report well over 500 applicants per role.
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Resume Example #2.
Now, let’s critique another resume example:
Delia Martin is a General Manager whose resume describes her as “Experienced and self-motivated…”
Now that you know what to look for, it’s likely that you realise that the criticisms which applied to the first resume example apply here, as well.
There’s no such thing as an inexperienced and unmotivated General Manager, so pointing out that she is “experienced and self-motivated is simply an exercise in stating the obvious, while wasting space that could be used to sell Delia’s unique value).
Also, it must be mentioned that this resume does an extremely poor job of communicating Delia’s achievements. It lists her duties (and it does so in a rather generic manner), rather than blowing the socks off employers with razor-sharp achievements.
As a result, this resume pitches Delia at a lower level than a true General Manager; it diminishes her experience sells her short of her true potential.
Your resume has the power to set your career on an upward trajectory or to keep you stuck in a job you loathe. It’s one of the most important documents you’ll ever own, so make sure you invest the appropriate amount of time and resources into ensuring it’s as effective as it possibly can be.
Using resume examples for inspiration can certainly help you with this, but be aware that most examples you’ll find online are quite substandard, generic and well, boring. Use my critiques above to filter the wheat from the chaff and get yourself a resume that does justice to your career.