There are 8 million jobs open in the United States in any given month. So, why aren’t you getting any of these? One big reason may be your resume.

Your resume is more than a piece of paper with words – it’s a painting. Just like you, hiring managers have imaginations and they will use that to read your resume. The question is, do these words paint a picture of you as a competent worker? Energetic? Joyful? A team player? Honest? Do they paint a picture of you as young, middle-aged, or old? No, those things aren’t covered in your resume and they may be right or wrong, but it’s human nature to imagine.

There’s also a difference between company size in how long someone will look at your resume. With a small employer, you might get as much as two minutes. With large employers, you will get between four and fifteen seconds of attention. That’s not long, so the top third of your resume better be good.

Every employer is going to be looking for something different, but two things that almost everyone looks for are competence and compassion.

Let’s tackle the first one, competence…

Stop it with the empty claims such as able, accustomed to fast-paced environments, analytical, bottom-line focused, dependable, driven, go-to person, problem solver, self-starter, etc. Yes, you and everyone else who has ever made a resume are these things. The problem with these is that most managers consider them to be empty claims devoid of proof.

These days managers want evidence on your resume before they’ll call you. They want numbers, dollars, percentages, illustrations – that sort of thing.

  • Experienced accountant (blah)
  • Experienced cost accountant (okay)
  • Experienced cost accountant with 5 years in manufacturing companies (better)
  • Experienced cost accountant with 5 years in food manufacturing, managing standard costing for 1,000+ perishable SKUs (now you’re getting somewhere)

Numbers are the most important evidence. Employers want to make money and you are a cost. They want to know if the money you make for them or the money you save them will exceed your cost. They’ll even guess at how much. Giving them figures regarding your past achievements helps them gauge that. They want to see things like:

  • I reduced costs by 10%
  • I streamlined our inventory management process by xyz which resulted in adding $75,000 annually to our bottom line.
  • I created and automated our month end close procedure to cut the closing time down by 2 days.

Everyone will be asking are you going to cost me money or save me money. Remember all those empty claims from before. Try replacing those with these:

  • Accomplished (and say what)
  • Accomplishments include (make sure you have factual numbers)
  • Time saved
  • Increased profits
  • Reduced costs by
  • Created new
  • Developed
  • Improved
  • Increased productivity by x percent
  • Initiated cost savings of x
  • Secured five new x worth $x
  • Under budget by

 Keep in mind these 4 questions when writing your resume:

  1. Think of some mythical person that the company may have hired who would have done the job poorly. Compared to you, how much more would that person have cost them?
  2. Did you save the organization time and thus increase profit? Either by accomplishing more work in less time than your predecessor, by meeting impossible deadlines and always saving the organization a penalty, or by taking on additional responsibilities so that they didn’t need to hire an additional person? Put a guesstimate number on all of these!
  3. Did you save the organization money and thus increase profit? Either by finishing a major project below budget, while others would have gone over, or by coming up with some true cost-saving ideas with respect to procedures they had always done the “old way. “Again, put a guesstimate or number on these.
  4. Did you increase the organization’s total sales and thus increase profit? Either by attracting new customers or clients, by generating new business, by altering the organization to a problem they were missing that could easily be solved, or by pointing out an opportunity or new market they were missing? Again, numbers!

If you don’t feel like your resume is getting the attention that you deserve or landing you your dream job, send it over to us and for feedback.

Happy Job Hunting!