Ho-Hum Resumes: Is Yours One of Them?

Sometimes it feels as if I’m playing a broken record on this, but experience shows that too many job seekers still don’t get the difference between a resume that showcases their unique value to employers and one that looks basically like a job description. The latter is what I’ve decided to call a ho-hum resume.

In other words, the response to it is likely to be something along the lines of “who cares?” or “So…?” or even “OK (round-file that one). Next.”

What Makes a Resume Stand Out?

Remember that employers get hundreds, sometimes thousands, of resumes in a relatively short time when they publicize a job opening. If your resume doesn’t stand out in a quick glance through the stack, it might not ever get even a cursory look.

And that’s quite apart from the requirements set up for passing the ATS (applicant tracking system) screening process. If you’ve done that, you still need to impress the people who will actually be looking at your resume and (you hope) considering you as a potential employee.

In some ways, the question should really be: What makes a resume blend into the background? Or to put it another way, why would your resume disappear and never be heard from again?

Job Description Terminology–Good or Bad?

If used with careful thought, some job description terminology in your resume wouldn’t necessarily be bad. However, if it doesn’t somehow bring out your value proposition so that employers can see it quickly and become interested in pursuing you further, that job description wording will relegate you to the ranks of would-be employees who don’t get a serious look.

For instance, there’s a world of difference between these two statements:

  1. Established a sales department; hired 5 employees and initiated contact with potential customers.
  2. Built a sales department that successfully established strategic relationships with 3 major customers in primary target market, creating a pipeline projected to generate $1.5 million in revenue over the next 6 months.

Both of these are presumably factual (or they shouldn’t be used at all), but #2 leaves #1 in the dust, metaphorically speaking. It’s still relatively concise, which is good, but it delivers a “punch” that the first one totally fails to do.

You need to make a memorable impression on employers in the best possible way, and you need to do it fairly quickly. A ho-hum resume packed with generic job description verbiage won’t get you there, so don’t settle for taking that “easy way out.” Create a standout resume that makes you shine in the eyes of employers!

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