There’s good news! Reviewing your résumé is very much like your New Year’s resolution. Did you make some new resolutions? …or were all or some of your resolutions extensions of those from past years? Personally, I have a mixture.


Old resolutions… sometimes we need to refresh our commitment to past goals. That’s good. Here’s some more good news: Reviewing your résumé doesn’t change. In the end, these three actions will be the result of your considerations. In a nutshell…

  • Something is going to go on,
  • Something is going to come off,
  • Or something is going to get fixed.

That doesn’t seem like rocket-science does it? The challenge is figuring out what parts of your current résumé need to be changed.

First Tip: Remember that your résumé will be read by someone in a hurry…a big hurry.
Therefore, the reader has to be able to find what s/he is looking for in seconds. When people have to hunt for information, they quickly give up and go to the next résumé. Big no-no…dense paragraphs and bullet points.

Second Tip: Your résumé will have multiple readers…all looking for particular information.

  • Reader No. 1: The Applicant Tracking System
  • Reader No. 2: Hiring professionals: HR and recruiters
  • Reader No. 3: Hiring managers
  • Other readers such as potential team members, colleagues, the final approver…

If the first page of your résumé is written for the hiring manager, then the pre-screeners (HR, HR assistants, recruiters), will likely have to hunt for the information they are looking for. If it takes them more than 8 seconds to find what they are looking for, they will move on.

Example: If a particular degree is required for a position, then both the ATS, HR and recruiters will screen for that. The initial screens will check your work history for gaps. Have you explained them well enough so they don’t disqualify you?

This information has to be added.
HR and recruiters also want to know how long it’s been since you experienced the same kind of work that you will likely do in the role they are trying to fill. Is that information easy to find?

Did I mention that they are in a hurry? Good…they are in a big hurry. If you are a jobseeker, you might be in a hurry too.

This usually has to get fixed.
Hiring managers want details! They need to know if you can do the job, so details about your technical skills, projects, and activities have to be easy to find. Have you given presentations to senior executives? Clients? Amateurs? End-users?

What résumé readers look for:

Ask questions on behalf of the reader.
How? check the job posting.

ASK: What are the top needs that will ensure success in this position? Is it relationships? Technical skills? Technical knowledge about a product? Analysis for specific kinds of data?

For HR and recruiters:
Check the job description for their top concerns about the person they hire. Do they have cultural concerns? (Check the company website for these.) Have you responded to them? Are your responses easy to find? ..cuz these people are in a hurry.

TIP: Many hiring professionals are looking for people that can move up in the company. Consider the following:

  • Check the website and get an idea of the people they are currently hiring.
  • Check LinkedIn and see what kind of people work there and get some idea of the reporting structures.

    Example: Do they have managers? Assistant managers? Senior managers? There it is! …the reporting structure.

    If you are applying for a position as a manager, you can hopefully move to a more senior role.
    If you can, check a job description for a senior position or find someone on LinkedIn, you can “position” yourself as a candidate that can move up in the company! (Yes, I know. It will take some sleuthing.)

This stuff comes off or gets fixed.
Third Tip: You don’t have to put everything on your résumé. Include the stuff that is most interesting and important to the position you are applying for. If it doesn’t pertain to the job, then why ask readers, who are in a hurry, to swim through that information to find what they are looking for? Suggestion: Leave it out!

Fourth Tip: Get rid of all the mundane stuff! If it’s boring…then why should they read further?
Example: Led a team of six.
Oh really? Six what? Six accountants? Six customer service reps? Interns? Volunteers? Ask questions to bring out substantive information.

There shouldn’t be any mundane, “vanilla,” or “ho-hum” information anywhere on your résumé. No exceptions.

Too much work?

You’re thinking, this is way too much work…right? I thought so. Okay, I get that, however, this is not a numbers game. Do you want to apply to 60 jobs and get nothing back? OR, take your time, prepare carefully, and apply to 10 jobs and get 2 responses? …just asking.

Maybe you don’t go to all this trouble for every job you apply for…that makes sense. However. If it’s a job you really like, know you are qualified for…then consider customizing it with these tips.

BONUS TIP: This should definitely go on.
One of the top skills needed for the immediate and near future is creativity. Are you? Are you creative? How is this demonstrated on your résumé?

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If you are interested in learning how we do all this, check out this workshop and learn how to differentiate yourself.

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