The Designated Backup

I reviewed a resume this week that had a statement in the middle of the resume that was almost hidden. The statement appeared in a job description at the end of a long paragraph. When I read a resume, like most hiring managers, I scan the resume quickly to get a feel for the person and to decide how much time I want to spend on the resume. Sometimes, I make my decision in the first 15 seconds.

Placing important information at the end of a long paragraph almost guarantees that I won't read it. This is exactly what the job seeker did. It was only by chance that I read the line. There was something in the resume that interested me and I decided to look a little further for more information and found this:

"Designated back up for <department manager> when this individual is unavailable.”

This statement, by itself doesn't mean much. In the field that this job seeker is in, it is significant. The job seeker is in a role with a large number of peers, all managed by the department manager. This individual is in a role that does require someone to fill in for them on a regular basis. Finally, the manager's role is significantly more challenging than the job seekers regular duties.

This statement implies very strongly that the job seeker is the best leader out of all of his peers. This isn't something that should be buried or hidden on a resume. It is a type of recommendation from the individual's boss that they are the best in the department and designated as such publicly by placing them in the role of fill in.

As a job seeker, it is extremely important to recognize the elements of your background that set you apart and highlight you potential. This job seeker failed to do this. The information that they highlighted and was most prominent on their resume was much less important. It was essentially data about their job responsibilities and did little to sell the candidate.