At some point being modest, almost timid, became the new norm for resumes.
My team and I review about 500 resumes each week, and all those resumes can be described in three words: Bland. Boring. Generic.
Is this the job seeker’s fault? Not necessarily.
Many candidates focus on pleasing the much maligned and always mysterious Applicant Tracking System. Unfortunately, that often results in watered down professional stories that are weighed down with buzzwords and corporate-speak.
Instead, job seekers should focus on the real purpose of a resume: showing off. That’s what a resume is really for. To brag. Shine. Set yourself apart and show potential employers who you are!
For example, I recently reviewed a resume from a top-ranking tech sales pro who described how he sets appointments with his target audience.
Guess what? No one cares.
That kind of talk doesn’t make you unique. Every sales or business development professional sets appointments, develops relationships and closes deals.
What gets your resume plucked for consideration are the results. He could have mentioned how he closed over $12 million dollars in new business in 2023, but that information was nowhere to be found.
He saved a multi-million-dollar account by helping them optimize technology they already had in place, which resulted in better work processes, increased cost savings, better data collection, and improved compliance. His employer was ready to end their relationship with the vendor because they were not using the technology to its full potential, but didn’t because of his efforts. That’s a story worth sharing.
Yes, it sounds simple. It also sounds like bragging, but there’s nothing wrong with that. It’s the truth, and it’s something that made him stand out in his updated resume. This is the type of information that tells a hiring manager why they should call you.
Let’s not sugarcoat things. We are a sum of our results; our impact, our wins, our successes.
Describing your job is a waste of your time and space. Your title and responsibilities are not unique to you alone. Describing your success is key — it’s what makes you shine.
Keep in mind, job openings in a competitive market get hundreds, if not thousands, of applicants. So, when your resume is boring, middle of the road, or anti-climactic, so are your job search results.
You should always include:
• Any job-related metrics.
• Show how you helped your company make money or save money.
• You should always include any major honors, awards, or things that you are particularly proud of.
Not every job will have revenue or cost savings, but every single job has an opportunity to do something better, smarter, or more efficient. Figure out what you’ve accomplished in that regard and include it on your resume.
Leave humility at the door and get your mojo back when it comes to describing your work experience.
Your job search will see an increase in results. And your ego might get a little boost, too.
Author Robynn Storey founded Storeyline Resumes in 2000 with a powerful approach that attracted significant attention from recruiters and high-level human resources professionals. The thriving boutique firm of hand-picked experienced writers collectively have written more than 300,000 resumes, LinkedIn profiles, and career documents for clients all over the world. To learn more, visit the Storeyline Resumes website.
Photo by Andrea Piacquadio /