Everything about the job search process seems to have changed dramatically over the past five years. The economy has been fragile at best and it’s not likely we’ll witness the same kind of hiring frenzy we experienced in 1997 any time soon. However, indicators suggest that the job market is becoming more favorable and more opportunities are opening up. Many things have changed including how one goes about conducting a job search and marketing oneself to a new emerging job market.
Take, for example, your resume. Years ago it was acceptable to just list your accomplishments. It was commonplace to include such action statements as “Supervised staff of twelve to ensure efficient service delivery” or “Managed budget in excess of $1.5 million”. The problem is statements like this do not convey what employers REALLY want to know. Employers want to know, “What can you do for me? What results have you had in your career?”. They are telling jobseekers, “Give me some evidence as to why I should interview you let alone hire you.”
Nowadays, employers want to read ACTION + RESULT statements within applicant resumes. The resume needs to clarify not only on what you’ve done, but, more importantly, what your outcomes have been. This new paradigm is based upon the same principle as the premise for behavioral-based interviewing which is if you’ve been successful (or not) doing something in the past then that’s a good indicator that you will continue to be successful (or not) in the future. An average resume will TELL the employer what you’ve done. A great resume will SHOW & TELL the employer what you’ve done and what your results were as well. As the job market widens, opportunities and offers will be plentiful for those who promote their RESULTS in addition to their ACTIONS.
Let’s take that same aforementioned example: “Supervised staff of twelve to ensure efficient service delivery”. That’s a nice mention of what was done, but, think about it, what does it really convey to an employer? Not much. Does it compel the reader to want to know more about the candidate? Likely not! How about if we took that same idea and insert RESULTS so that it now reads:
“Increased response time to customer requests and improved customer satisfaction by 27% through implementation of Project Management training system.”
See the difference? The latter is more specific and commands the reader’s attention which is exactly what your resume is supposed to do in the first place.
Another shift on the resume is the inclusion of a Summary of Qualification. Formerly, all that was needed was a Career Objective which is intended to give the reader an early indication of where the candidate’s career is headed. TheSummary of Qualifications, on the other hand, provides a snapshot of what the candidate has to offer and should also be presented emphasizing RESULTS. For example, instead of listing that you are a “Team player”, a well-worded entry would read:
“Demonstrated effectiveness at developing interdepartmental and cross functional teams which support organizational goals.”
It is expected that the resume should include three to five of the applicant’s major selling points listed in the Summary of Qualifications.
In working with clients, I provide them with assistance on developing a resume that SHOWS the reader what you have to offer and have accomplished. The emerging job market will be more receptive to applicants who distinguish themselves from others by emphasizing what they have to offer to the employer. This will be especially critical for those who may have several years of experience, those who may have been downsized / re-engineered / laid off from their previous position, and those who are employed and seeking to advance to a higher level.