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Stop sending out boring resumes, but how do you know your resume is boring?
CEO at CPA Australia, Alex Malley has a secret about resumes. He has written and read more resumes than he would care to admit, and, for some years now, it is only read mode for him. This is according to Mr. Malley’s recent post via LinkedIn. According to Malley, somehow, people have learnt to surgically remove their personality from their resume making it resoundingly clear that people have lost the art of creative (but honest) writing and influencing the reader to want more.
How do you know your resume is boring?
Malley shares an irony: the employer, him, is sifting through a multiple number of resumes looking for difference, when the prospective employees are serving up the same, similarly structured resumes littered with the same words, conservatively framed, safe and, to be honest, mostly boring. As Malley puts it: “Do you think any future employer wants you to draw from the same thesaurus as everyone else? ‘Innovative’, ‘passionate’, ‘team player’, ‘motivated’: sadly these words have become clichés.”
What makes for a compelling story?
What Malley is looking for are insights gleaned from a professional journey or adventure, not merely an outline of an existence.
“A resume, in my view, is a story of personality, performance, persistence and persuasion (his ‘four Ps’). The length should aim to be short but interesting enough for a prospective employer to want to meet you requiring the use of simple language, short sentences and evidence by brief example of outcomes achieved.”
So what to do?
Instead of writing the same thing for different jobs, stop and try the following exercise. You have two pages available to write down in its most interesting form of your life story so far. You are writing it to a publisher to persuade them to commission your story into a book. And the content has to be personal, compelling, illustrative and emotive.
Then, select 5 people – either friends or colleagues – and ask each one to read your story, observing their body language and reactions.
Now, why does observing someone’s body language and reactions matter?
This is likely the first time you are able to see the response someone has to your story. In life, we don’t have the luxury of seeing the employer’s reaction. Ask the 5 people what they liked, what they didn’t like and what they found most interesting about you. Compare and contrast each of their perspectives. You will likely find common feedback on what compelled them about your story. Keep in mind we are often surprised by what makes us interesting to others. This exercise will give you a greater sense of self-awareness. You may well have made it one step towards standing out.
The most important thing is to remember what you as a prospect have added to the resume. Keep the resume short and interesting. Add a link to resume that sends the recruiter to either your LinkedIn profile, wherein they can look up things they need to know in detail. In today's day and age, it's advisable to have a LinkedIn profile.