A Resume Without Substance

I recently assessed a job seeker that had provided a resume that told very little. Fortunately, we had been referred to this individual and knew they were talented. Otherwise, their resume would probably have been discarded. The reason: there’s nothing in the resume that sells the job seekers.

Here’s the background of the candidate: 10 years experience in a field with very good job stability and a good progression of promotions. Bachelor’s degree and MBA. The candidate is in a competitive field and has a great track record of success.

That’s what we know from the interview and references we did. The resume tells a different story – or rather, it doesn’t tell the story at all.

The resume is one page. The top quarter of the page has the job seekers name, contact information and the objective statement. The objective statement doesn’t give an objective. Here’s how it reads:

Objective: A position that will utilize the accumulated skills and business expertise that has been gained from my experience as a <job title>.

Now, I have to assume the candidate would be interested in the same job they have been doing, at a similar company, in a similar industry. If they want anything different from what they are doing know, there’s nothing to tell me this.

Next is the Work Experience section. The job seeker has less than 10 bullets covering all the jobs they have held. Of these, all but the last is a basic responsibility. In fact, the first bullet under their current job says essentially:

Responsible for day-to-day operations of my department.

Now the actual bullet is more detailed regarding the actual responsibilities, but this is an accurate rewording of the meaning.

Now, how excited would you be to hire someone that describe their work history as “I was responsible for doing my job?” Although including responsibilities is important, there has to be more in a resume.

The job seeker had their only accomplishment as the last bullet of the work experience section, and this bullet was very weak, saying only that they have met their goals in one position. The natural question a hiring manager would ask is:

Have you done anything successfully in the last 10 years.

If you knew the candidate, you would answer with a resounding yes. If you only saw the resume, you would answer absolutely not.

Bottom Line: This job seeker failed to present their pattern of success or their potential for growth. Their resume will slow or stop their job search before they get an chance to interview. The first steps to fixing this are to add specific accomplishments and improve their objective statement (or remove it).