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Saturday, January 28, 2006
It's a Matter of Strategy
Have you ever seen a resume that you knew was really good but you couldn’t exactly put your finger on why it was good? More than likely it is good because of the strategy behind the writing rather than because of the writing itself. I’ve seen well-written resumes that had absolutely no strategy to them. Well-written doesn’t necessarily equate to effective. Strategy is the key to effectiveness.

Strategy starts with the goal of the job seeker because everything in the document revolves around that goal. Often, we’ll have job seekers who come to us without a particular goal other than “a better salary” or “a shorter commute”. We send these people home to figure out “what they want to be” before we can begin on their project because it impossible to write an effective resume that doesn’t have a goal.

For example, let’s say a job seeker has a goal of Director of IT for a mid-sized company. His background is in IT and he’s had management experience but its been mainly project-oriented. He’s got a sound career progression and no holes. He has a degree that is twelve years old. His experience lies mainly in the telecom industry but he’s not necessarily married to that and would like to move more into the healthcare field because of growth potential. What is the strategy to take with his resume?

First of all, everything that is included in the content of the resume should have some direct relation on what the employer wants to know. There is no need to include interests, hobbies, or other information that has no bearing. The content should speak directly to the target job. Including information that is tangential will not add to the effectiveness of the resume.

Second, pick and choose information that is results-oriented that demonstrates the skill-set necessary for a Director of IT. Leave out low-end skill sets or tasks such as “gave presentations” because this type of information is a “given” at his level. If he was a support technician looking to move into presales engineering, the fact that he has experience giving presentations would be important. It’s not important to enunciate that particular skill at this level, though.

Arrange the resume in the correct order. His degree is twelve years old; therefore it should not be on the first page of the resume or anywhere near the beginning. It should be at the end. If he had been a new grad, it should be right after the summary because it would be his best selling point (since he wouldn’t have any experience if he was a new grad).

He has a good career progression so using a chronological format would be the best strategy. He is aiming at the next step up the ladder but employers don’t hire potential, they hire experience. It will be necessary to show he’s performed the actions and skills that would be asked of a Director of IT even if he’s not actually held the title. Write the resume to the future, not the past.

I can tell by looking at a resume if it was written with strategy in mind (written to the future) or if it was written to make the past sound good (well-written). The difference is always the results. Strategic resumes win interviews, while well-written resumes just win compliments.

November 2005 / December 2005 / January 2006 /


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