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Prevent Resume Peril - Prove Your Value

By Mark Puppe

 
Resumes are black holes for time, opportunity and peace of mind. Defective resumes can even drive job searches into the ground. I’ve seen it thousands of times; job seekers and even professional resume writers neglecting what employers expect resumes to provide: proof.
 
Numbers measure performance concisely and leave little room for misinterpretation; they’ll prove rather than purport your value. In contrast, talking about your talents panders readers and stimulates speculation; the only value here is the merit of your word. Expecting words to prove your value can impose detrimental costs, but using numbers will help prevent your resume from inflicting them on you.
 
Quantify previous positions and avoid listing duties. Why? Because a position title is typically enough for hiring authorities to deduce the duties. For example, an advertising agency’s HR staff already knows what a sales agent, graphics designer, marketing manager, and other industry-related titles do. If they don’t, you’re probably better off not working there anyway. Trusting that readers have at least some grasp on reality gives you the opportunity to put your work history into perspective; to establish the extent of your tasks and convince employers that you blew expectations out of the water. Specifying the number of people you managed, projects you completed, strategies you created, and other essentials will save resume real estate that your competitors waste trying to explain the obvious.
 
Quantify results and avoid self praise. How many employers are impressed by a resume that alleges its own author has excellent or superior this or that skill? None. Worse yet, how many resumes make those claims? Nearly every. So, rather letting your resume ramble about how super duper your skills might be, distinguish them by featuring and substantiating your achievements. That means providing data that prove your ability to perform; to apply and maximize the skills that other applicants merely assert. Employers care about time and money so a resume that quantifies how much of each you can generate will strengthen your prospects for the “to be interviewed” list. Sure, the numbers might be tricky to remember, but you’ll be able to determine reasonable estimates.
 
Of course, words are critical to resumes and can make very positive impressions when used correctly. Doing so requires solid grammar, accurate spelling, appropriate tenses and strategic placement. Yet it’s in your best interest to consider words as trusses connecting the pillars of an effective resume—proof.
 
There’s no better way to put it: A job search stinks. But taking the steps above can shorten the process. They ensure that your resume proves, rather than babbles, about your value. They generate interviews for my clients and will help do the same for you.