I Entrepreneur resume discussion
Client S came to me for a professionally edited resume with work experience in marketing at Fidelity and after having founded her own company. Client S was creative, ambitious and extremely well-spoken. She had the people skills necessary to be a great manager combined with the vision required of business leaders. When I read Client S’s original resume for the first time I was surprised by just how many bullet points there were ( 20+) and how detailed some of them were (one was four lines long!). The resume was cluttered and reading it I immediately felt overwhelmed by the volume of information and ironically, the complete lack of substance (none of her bullet points spoke to what she had actually accomplished or how well). I didn’t know if her company was a success or failure or what she had contributed to the bottom line at Fidelity. Not good.
Creating professionally edited resumes I’ve noticed (on more than one occasion) that people’s greatest strengths are often, the precise characteristics that fail to shine through in resumes they write for themselves. It’s ironic, and odd, and a phenomenon I don’t understand. As I mentioned, Client S was very well-spoken and able to articulate ideas clearly. In fact, I’d wager she was in the top 5% of people when it comes to that particular skill set. Yet her resume portrayed her as someone who was scattered in her thinking and didn’t understand how to synthesize information for her reader. Would you hire Client S for a role in Marketing where written, visual and verbal communication are key?
Issue 1) Resume is a disjointed list of responsibilities rather than accomplishments
Rather than paying tribute to her accomplishments, the bullet points in Client S’s original resume read more like a job description. By highlighting what she was supposed to do, rather than what she excelled at, Client S comes off as passive rather than active, complacent in the role she’s been assigned rather than actively shaping her role. Resumes aren’t supposed to be job descriptions just as new car brochures don’t dedicate page after glossy page to highlighting the baseline features of a vehicle (like brakes, air conditioning and an am/fm radio). A job title (in most cases) is sufficient to give a recruiter a general idea of what you’re supposed to do (responsibilities) – a professionally edited resume uses bullet points to highlight unexpected and exceptional aspects of a client’s work.
- Original Resume:
- Fidelity: I worked as project manager on a high profile internal strategy re-launch in LOCATION, LOCATION and LOCATION whereby I was responsible for formulating content, logistics, agency relationships, budgetary planning & internal stakeholder engagement.
- Start-up: Responsibilities include formulating a sustainable business model, pricing, D2C marketing and B2B sales (Note: It’s quite strange to see the founder of a start-up list his or her individual responsibilities when it’s clear that the entire company is ultimately their responsibility)
In the professionally edited version of Client S’s resume there are no laundry list bullet points full of responsibilities. Instead bullet points are used to discuss specific accomplishments. These serve as a form of storytelling which work to engage the recruiter as he reads the resume and later, in interview, these stories will provide a springboard for discussing the client’s strengths and future ambitions.
- Professionally edited resume:
- Fidelity: Drove a tangible increase in email engagement; distributed 30+ promotional emails each to 20,000 recipients, generating above industry average click and open rates (3% & 19% respectively)
- Start-up: Drove active user base to 2,800 to date through original content creation (including a blog with 50+ posts and 3,000 visitors), digital marketing (1,300+ tweets and 1,600+ Twitter followers), PR coverage across app review websites
Issue 2) Resume is not organized topically
While at Fidelity Client S worked in two groups: UK Business Strategy and Retail Funds. In the Business Strategy group Client S focused on internal communication whereas in the Retail Funds group she was doing external marketing to qualified investors. In the original resume Client S doesn’t differentiate between these two roles and instead lumps everything together under the Fidelity entry. In the professionally edited resume the two groups are distinct sub-sections and help the recruiter understand that Client S would be a good fit for a variety of internally OR externally facing roles.
Additionally, in the professionally edited resume two sub-sections were created to highlight the two core products Client S’s start-up provided – one being an app aimed at selecting wines for purchase another being an app used to sign up for wine tastings. In the original version, bullet points related to these products were randomly lumped together. By separating them we give the recruiter an instantaneous sense of what Client S’s start-up actually does which can be extremely helpful – never assume that a recruiter will take the time to google a company they’re unfamiliar with (especially when it’s a small one).
- The original resume lists the client’s secondary school. Secondary school (high school) never ever belongs on your resume.
- The original resume lists too many unrelated internships. Client S has held internships in a PR agency, an online advertising agency, a fashion brand and Citigroup. I listed just two (PR & Citigroup) in the professionally edited resume because they reinforced the story-line of a marketing professional in financial services and in doing so demonstrate career focus. Four internships would have overwhelmed the resume.
- The original resume dedicates too much space to qualifications, activities, volunteer work and hobbies – nearly 35% of the resume’s total text in fact! Remember, additional information is a conversation starter so it’s important to be judicious when selecting what tidbits of personal information you’d like to share. page in fact!contributed to a coherent story ofPANY – MINERAL INDUSTRY. There should only be one start and end date for that employer because Client B wasn’t hired and fired by COMPANY – MINERAL INDUSTRY multiple times – he’s been working for them all along. If you’ve had multiple roles or worked in multiple locations for the same employer, make every role or location a sub-section of the primary entry.