Secret #4: How to effectively sell yourself using a resume
Robert: After looking at thousands and thousands of resumes, what would you want to share with job hunters out there to improve their resume?
Bryan: Regardless of the size of the company or the size of the applicant pool, you need to look at your resume and ask yourself if it contains the right information. That gets back to why it's so important to be specific on your resume. If your resume is very general and it reads like a job description, that's not going to look as compelling as someone who's able to articulate their accomplishments in detail.
For example, on a resume you usually start by putting down what you've done and some kind of job description. For instance, I managed 10 people. I was responsible for the sales territory. I was responsible for this product line. But if you stop there, you're not answering the much more important question: What was achieved through your having those responsibilities?
So if you manage eight people, what did that team actually accomplish? You oversaw a particular sales territory -- how much where you able to grow revenue? It's that level of specificity that most people fail to provide. Start by saying what you're asked to do in your job. If you're in that position for a year or two, or even six months, what did you accomplish during that time frame given the challenges you faced and the available resources?
Again, as a job candidate you're going to be much more interesting the more specific you get in describing what you do, including your accomplishments and strengths. The truth is that the more you try to be interesting to as many people as possible, the less interesting you become.
Secret #5: Avoid these resume mistakes
Robert: What mistakes do you see applicants make on their resumes?
Bryan: There are two common mistakes I see with resumes. One is that people want to put down everything that they've ever done. Their resume turns into this laundry list of responsibilities and how you spend all of your time. What really differentiates you are your accomplishments, right? So if your resume reads like a job description, you have to understand that there's probably a lot of other people that have similar jobs. That's not going to help you stand out from the crowd. If you focus on your accomplishments -- and the most important way to do that is to quantify what you were able to accomplish -- that is what will differentiate you from people in similar roles.
For example, salespeople are sometimes afraid to put down how much revenue they generated or what percentage they earned each quarter. They think that their "number" is too small. The problem is that leaving that sales number out prevents the person looking at your resume from deciding whether you fit or not. And what you want is for your sales number to be of interest to a small group of people. Say that you generated $1 million in sales, but you're afraid that $10 million is what the group is looking. But someone who's looking to a hire a salesperson who generates $500,000 to $1.5 million in revenue is going to be very interested in that number. And that's exactly what you want.
You only need one job, so focus on the groups of people who are going to be more attracted to your set of accomplishments.
The second kind of mistake I often see on resumes -- and this is a point of frustration across the board -- is around the basics. You have to understand that at the beginning of the process, the company doesn't have a lot of information about you. Your resume is the only thing they have to go on. Little things like typos, grammatical errors, formatting -- it's just totally inexcusable. In the absence of any other information about you, a typo can indicate other trouble-spots. It can indicate sloppiness or attention to detail. Maybe it was just a simple mistake, but perhaps it indicates a bigger problem. And to be honest, having someone else review your resume for basis errors is simple. The basics are critical.
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