Hopefully you completed the last assignment. If not, hop back and read The Most Effective Way to Target Your Resume-Part I, before continuing below:
Now that you have your professional headline completed, you’re going to do your sub-headline. It goes right below your professional headline, slightly smaller font but still larger than the main body. It’s a 6 -10 word sentence that effectively encapsulates what you’ve figured out as the most important skill the hiring manager is looking for. Continuing the C.P.A example, it may become clear to you that cost savings are the most important thing to this employer. So your sub headline will say, “Successfully reducing costs by eliminating redundant expenditures and renegotiating existing contracts.” Your sub-headline needs to have some basis in reality, but even if the priority skill they’re looking for is something you’ve spent minimal time on it is still the skill you want to lead with.
Once you’ve done that you are ready to go into the bulk of the resume.
Layout your job history (names, dates, job title, and location) as you normally would, but for now just put one bullet beneath each experience (and always use bullets not paragraphs).
Write just one first bullet from each job experience going backward in time. Each bullet should be a progression towards that sub-headline. Think “what is the logical precedent to this experience, what did I need to do or know at my previous job in order to be successful at the next job?”
Studies have shown that the vast majority of HR people and recruiters only read the first bullet of each experience, if they read anything at all. Studies have also shown that recruiters will look at your most recent experience first and then go to the bottom of your resume and read up. Recruiters want to see a logical progression from your first job to where you are today, so give them what they want.
I’ll take a moment here for the naysayers. I can hear some of you muttering, “But I wasn’t successful at every job, or I’ve changed careers, or I’m not very good at xyz…” It’s for you naysayers that I recommend starting this blank document; to force yourself to rewrite your sense of your job history. It’s not actually about what you’ve done; it’s about how you describe what you’ve done. For example, let’s say at your first job you managed 10 bank accounts, and every other C.P.A. in the firm was managing 30. You’ve always thought of that job as a failure because you didn’t do as well the others; however the HR people don’t know that 10 wasn’t a terrific number. So if you’re first bullet for that job experience starts off as “effectively managed 10 accounts…” it sounds like you did well, while still being honest.
Let’s say your next job you managed less accounts but they were higher value or had more transactions. All you do is switch the emphasis to the better quantifier. So your first bullet for your next job might be “Consistently oversaw $500,000 in weekly transactions….”
You see both these sentences are strong and make you appear successful but are only giving out selective pieces of information that make you sound good without giving the reader enough information to make a negative judgment despite the fact that you may consider those experiences failures.
Give this a whirl tonight and come back tomorrow when I help you finish up your re-worked, excellently targeted resume.
Think you have an awesome bullet point in your resume?
Sean Weinberg is the COO and co-founder of RezScore, a free web application that reads, analyzes, and grades resumes – instantly. Also the founder of Freedom Resumes, Sean has dedicated his career to helping job seekers write the best possible resumes.