NEW-Resume / OLD-Resume
Before and after makeover: OLD RESUME
This case is a good example of resume branding, because it’s not a horrible resume, but it’s not very good, either. It’s somewhere in the middle. It is not a competitive resume. Most resumes look like this, and most ofthem wind up in the trash.
So let’s start with a quick look at the old resume. By the way, this person lives and works in South Africa, so some of these items – or their ordering – are different from north america. So let’s take a closer look
Here on page 1 she lists her personal details, Education, achievements and workshops, core competencies.
Here’s the problem. You’ve only got about 6 seconds, on average, to WOW the reader – and that 6 seconds is for the WHOLE resume. In my opinion, you’ve only got 3 seconds to WOW the reader. That’s because the decision to accept or trash the resume is made right up here at the very top of the first page.
So none of this stuff she’s showing on PAGE 1 answers the KEY questions, shown here in RED:
What you do? What do you want, and – most important of all – WHAT MAKES YOU ANY BETTER THAN ALL OF THESE OTHER STOOGES WHO WANT TO WORK HERE?
At this point, nobody even cares what your name is. So if you lead off with your personal details and core competencies, your resume will probably be trashed.
And if you blow this intro, it’s GAME OVER – nothing else matters down below, and certainly nothing else matters on pages 2 or 3. If you blow the intro your resume will probably be trashed.
Her education is good but not exceptional like Harvard MBA or Oxford.
Her top achievement – auditor of the year – this would actually help, but it’s buried down hhere where nobody can see it. These other items are not achievements – they are certifications
And all this other stuff – core competencies – it’s too dense – too difficult to read — so readers will skip it.
So this resume is dead in the water.
Her second page is just more of the same – – she talks about details that she thinks are important. Problem is that the interviewer is not interested in what she’s talking about. I’ll get into that in a minute.
These bullets are a problem – text is too dense, and it’s a “Jigsaw Puzzle” – in other words, she’s showing a bunch of little puzzle pieces that don’t make any sense. Instead, she should assemble these pieces into a clear picture – in other words, show a success story. That’s how open the door for an interview. By the way, I explain this bullet problem in a separate video on the blog
Third page, forget it – just more of the same – blah, blah, blah Almost always, the third page of a resume is a wasteland. In certain parts of the world – South Africa and Australia, for example – longer resumes are customary. Even in the USA, it’s okay to have a third page, but usually it’s a bad idea. A third page will not help you open the door for an interview. That decision was already made at the top Page 1.
Here we are on page 1 of the new resume.
By the way – the photo is optional – okay for South Africa, not for the USA – I like it because it makes the resume more memorable
Compare her new INTRO with her original. The new intro takes charge of the communication in the first milliseconds
#1 – headline – this is NOT the title of her current job – this is an aspirational headline that points to where she is going in her career.
#2 These are subheadings – the resume is making BIG claims: She’s had a distinguished 9-year career with de beers, for example, she’s won auditor of the year, She has dual expertise as MBA and BS in computer science – And she speaks several languages,
#3 Short summary starts with a bang – based on what she told me in her interview, we can call her a master auditor
#4 Three bullets – expertise, leadership, performance – each of these bullets is backed up with a credible and very specific example
#5 Education – good schools – put ‘em on first page. The older you get, the less important the education unless you’ve gone to a very exceptional school – Harvard MBA, Oxford
SO – based on that intro – HOW COULD ANY COMPANY NOT WANT TO INTERVIEW HER?
That’s the key idea – she is sold on the first half of the first page.
BY THE WAY, THIS FIRST PAGE – YOU CAN SAVE IT AS A STANDALONE, ONE-PAGE PDF AND USE IT AS A NETWORKING BIO. VERY FLEXIBLE FOR NETWORKING HOW COOOOL IS THAT?
Question about the intro: Is she telling the truth, or is she just blowing smoke? Where’s the proof? That’s the purpose of everything below the top half – and page 2. Everything below the green line and eveything on the second page – must back up the claims you are making at the very top.
The reverse is also true – if you ARE NOT sold at the very top, it’s very unlikely that you’ll be sold on page 2 and or even page 3. If you blow this into, your resume will probably be trashed.
These elements I’ve described – #1 – #5 – these are often called branding elements. For resume purposes, most of the branding happens right here. Plus another element I call the “Golden Thread” – and that is the topic of a separate video.
Page 2 – it backs up the top half of the first page.
Here I’ve stacked the titles so the reader sees progression – promotion. She’s worked for this company for 9 years so it’s very important to show promotion – otherwise, looks like she’s been doing the same job for 9 years)
For each of her roles, I’ve called out the strongest item and put it in a subhead, for example: Promoted to Audit Manager, First IT Maturity Audit ever done ; Auditor of the year 2012; she discovered something so important her findings were rolled out across the company; and she ran a groundbreaking audit of SAP authorizations – you get the idea.
By the say, all this sounds very impressive, but hardly any of this information appeared on her original resume. All of her strongest material was locked up inside her head. And – in my experience – the only thing that unlocks this information is an in depth interview. We talked for 2 hours and recorded the whole session. That’s the secret of a killer resume—it’s not the font. It’s not the format. It’s the interview!
Here’s the third page – if it makes you feel better, a third page is okay. But it won’t change anything. The decision was already made at the top of page 1!