Your Resume: A sales document, not a biography

Summary: Most problems with resumes can be fixed by understanding one thing: The resume is a sales document, not a biography. It’s purpose is not to tell our life’s story, your struggles, your dreams and hopes, about how you saved a little puppy from drowning back in ’95. A resume only has one purpose: To get you an interview.

The lengthy resume

You must have seen those Resumes. Maybe you have one yourself. They start way back during World War 2, and detail in excruciating detail everything the writer has done since. If they worked one week in McDonalds in 1969, there is a whole paragraph on it:

“And I  served our customers by delivering excellent customer service and maintained optimized delivery schedule by synergising with my colleagues to ensure a seamless experience for our clients.”

And all the client ever wanted was for someone to fix the HTML on their website, so the blog looks pretty.

I’ve  already warned your about using big bullshit words and other mistakes, so I won’t go into that again.

What a resume is not

Today, I want to raise another issue: The goal of the resume.

A Resume is not a biography

You don’t have to list:

  • Every job you’ve ever done since you learned to walk
  • Jobs/skills not directly relevant. How do you find out what’s directly relevant? It’s listed on the @%^& job advert.
  • Your hobbies, your school, the award you won in kindergarten.

The problem with resumes like that is that they are written more for the author than the reader.

What a resume is used for

A resume only has one purpose: To get you an interview.

It does not guarantee a job.

It does not guarantee the reader will be impressed.

If a manager has to read your resume, it means you were not famous enough for them to have heard of. Which is fine, as none of us are that famous to begin with. But if you were thinking of blowing away the manager with your cool resume, think again. Does Bill Gates need a resume?The type of people who would impress someone are the type of people who don’t need a resume.

A resume is like a sales document. You are saying to someone:

“Hey dude, all this money that you have to throw away? I deserve it. Because blah blah blah.”

That’s all you are doing. You are trying to convince someone to lend you their time, so you can wow them in an interview.

I said it before, but I’ll repeat it. Your resume must pass the Toilet Test:

A manager who has had too many coffees, and now really has to use the toilet, and wants to finish scanning the last few resumes on his desk. Is your resume good enough for him to to put on his Call list? If not, think again.

In real life, that’s what’ll most likely happen. The manager will get two hundred resumes, and will try to skim through them while doing other things (because no company can afford to hire someone who only looks at resumes).

So if in doubt, look at it from a sales point of view. Does your resume really sell you?

If you need help in polishing your CV, feel free to contact me.

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