Escape the Shred Pile: Show Your Work

You want to know a quick way to get your resume tossed in the shred pile?

Write vaguely about a skill without any results.

Similar to the "show don't tell" concept, writing about your past experience or job duties without providing the results you achieved is a wasted effort.

Great that you trained, managed, directed, created, or whatever else you did. If you don't tell me, the hiring manager, what you got out of that effort, I could care less. Because I care about what you can bring me - remember this is about me, not you.

On the contrary, if you tell me you decreased new employees time to full productivity by 50% or increased sales 25% or increased quality, or whatever else, you now have my attention. 

Your resume isn't a list of job duties. Your resume isn't a list of accomplishments either. Your resume is a highlight reel. Your resume shows me what you can do for me. 

Your resume should provide specific accomplishments that are transferable to the job I'm hiring for. If not, your wasting your time. You're wasting my time.

And people who waste my time end up in the shred pile. (Remember, resumes are about the hiring manager, not about you!)

Now...that might be a touch dramatic, but it's the truth.

Two quick and very practical ways you can deliver on this:

1. After each accomplishment you list on your resume, ask yourself "how?" - this will force you to explain the accomplishment, which is what you need. For example, instead of "I developed new employees" try something like "I developed new employees by conducting side-by-side coaching sessions, helping them create action plans, and facilitating follow-up meetings for them to report on their progress." As a hiring manager, I want people who can coach, follow through, and hold people accountable. BINGO!

2. Use metrics. This is tough because we often fail to keep track of metrics in our current role, not realizing it is the best way to prove you are telling the truth down the road. Since most people stretch the truth on resumes...metrics help provide specifics to what you can achieve. Instead of saying that you were a top sales performer, say how many consecutive months you were in the top X (be specific!) of your group, or even better, say how often and by how much you exceeded your sales goals.

If you don't answer the how, you're being too vague. If you don't give metrics, you're forcing me to trust you. If you're in a pile on someone's desk, you can't afford being vague or forcing me to trust you.