“My resume reads like I’ve been a passive spectator in my own career, not a player. What am I doing wrong?”
Initiative counts for a lot. Nobody wants to hire someone who’ll need to be poked and prodded to execute the basics. They want people who can see, and contribute, in new ways.
Putting your resume into “action-oriented” mode is a great way to establish yourself as this kind of person.
Here are some ways to get there:
1. Open With What You Can Do, Not What You Want
Nothing kills a resume’s momentum faster than a dry opening paragraph describing what you’re after. Employers don’t care about what you’re after–not until after you’ve addressed their pain! So give them what they want right at the start.
Here are some examples:
- Catalyst with revenue growth who can launch game-changing Pharma products, transform marketing ROI across domestic and global markets, and expand the reach and profitability of existing product lines.
- “In the trenches” leader who can leverage a deep aeronautics background to solve mission critical field issues, as well as align operations to strategic plans.
2. Always Highlight The Result First
Even though it feels strange at first, highlighting the end result of your actions first builds curiosity on the part of a reader, as well as anticipation to find out how you did it. It also makes for far more engaging reading.
Before: Worked on five releases of SaaS talent acquisition solution on the product management side, which resulted in a 95% customer retention rate and double-digit revenue growth. Led a 12-person team.
After: Delivered double-digit YOY revenue growth and attained a 95% customer retention rate through expert stewardship of the product management function, leading a 12-person team in the successful delivery of five releases of SaaS talent acquisition solution.
3. Don’t Rehash Core Responsibilities
The more career successes you’ve accrued, the less you should mention daily tasks. Not doing this can actually undercut your credibility.
Start every major position listed on your resume with a “Scope Statement” that shows how you moved the needle. Here are some examples:
- Surpassed revenue targets for three consecutive years, ensured the successful commercial launch of cutting-edge Oncology products, and achieved a new level of capability and ROI across the entire $3B+ global portfolio.
- Disrupted the telecommunications and IT industries as key engineering lead for the delivery of next-gen VoIP technology and IoT solutions.
4. Strip Away Every Ounce of “Business Speak”
Listen to the great leaders of our time. Do they describe themselves and what they do using endless reams of jargon?
The most accomplished people talk simply. They explain what they do with passion, and are fine with communicating a POV that not everyone will appreciate (or even agree with).
The more you move in this direction, the more action-focused your resume will be. But it takes stepping away from the safe, weak confines of “business speak” with its meaningless buzzwords.
You’re better than that. Your resume should be too.