Evaluating a Resume

It’s a tricky thing to build a resume that effectively communicates who you are and what sort of contribution you can make. I’ve reviewed hundreds and hundreds of resumes during my career. Many candidates included succinct bulleted lists of facts and figures to demonstrate their contributions. For example, on my resume, I could state:

Lead a team that drove 10% year-over-year revenue growth for 5 years
Identified over $1 million in cost savingstrophy
Managed a Marketing budget of $750,000
Successfully launched 6 new products in 2017

Sounds great, right? But…

What if my 10% revenue growth was just barely scratching the surface of what was possible?
What if my cost savings resulted in disastrous employee morale?
Could I have accomplished significantly better results with a smaller (or larger) budget?
What if I had focused on only 3 of those products? Could I have seen bigger gains?

A list of accomplishments takes up a lot of real estate on the resume without adding a lot of value or providing much insight into the actual person. In fact, the more impressive the list, the more skeptical I became that it was an accurate representation.

A candidate always sparked my interest when s/he surprised me or demonstrated real thinking preferences. Creating a non-standard resume takes effort and guts.

I will never forget one resume that arrived in my inbox. It contained all of the usual resume items, but they were presented as Cause and Effect diagrams, process charts with call-outs, and an info box. Wow! I learned a heckuva lot about that candidate before he ever set foot in the building.


NOTE – the interview was excellent and productive, but we ended up choosing another candidate who was a better overall fit for our team.

One of the biggest barriers to improvement is not ever questioning whether there is a better/different approach to something that’s deeply ingrained. How often do you reevaluate your everyday thinking and processes? What might you find if you did?

Is the customary practice of listing accomplishments really the best way to construct a resume?

I’m throwing out all of the rules with my resume. It’s personal. It’s meant to convey who I am, what I value, how I work, and what I’m passionate about. And I’m delighted to receive your comments and feedback.




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