No résumé is perfect. Even those of highly successful executives are at least a little bit flawed.
Amy Adler, a certified master résumé writer, management coach, and career strategist for executives — who has read around 4,000 executives’ résumés in her life — says there’s one common mistake many of these people make.
“Executives typically have broad, deep, and successful careers,” she tells Business Insider. “However, it’s astonishing that their résumés don’t demonstrate their success in the context of the hiring manager’s needs.”
She says people in executive roles often take the “self-centered approach” because it’s easy — but it won’t help them in the long run.
“When they write their résumés without researching, or even imagining, what their potential future role will require, they are banking on the notion that the hiring manager will read their résumé and have a ‘lightbulb moment’ that tells them why this person is relevant, important, and capable of doing the role. The truth is that hiring managers don’t care enough about ‘unknowns’ to imagine where they belong.”
For instance, job seekers typically list the things they have done on their résumé, Adler explains. “In retelling their career story, they simply say, ‘I’ve done great things. Here are a few examples: Restructured division to cut FTEs 16% and add $150K to bottom line; innovated ABC process to generated 5% YOY growth in lead generation that resulted in 43 new customers annually.'”
These aren’t bad, says Adler. In fact, they are just the kinds of things a future hiring manager might need in a great team member. “But these are just not going to translate into a future role,” she adds.
“When I read things like this in a job seeker’s résumé, I wonder how these facts and metrics translate to the needs of their future employer. I often tell these clients, even those who have good stories with good quantification, that there is no way to tell whether a particular résumé is going to be right for them without knowing exactly what their future roles will demand of them, what their future hiring managers will expect, and how their success will be measured.
“Some of these questions can be answered independently, using market knowledge and job postings that happen to be available online,” Adler says. “And some must be answered using knowledge gleaned through informational interviewing.”
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