The evening after one has received a “deep-throat” call from a search firm
exploring interest in some path-breaking career opportunity with a dream
company, I see the beginning of a harrowing plight and frustration of that
otherwise confident, corporate superman.
The source of his trauma: a new career-changing resume that needs to be
written out, career-years into one’s job!
Over the years, I have seen thousands of resumes. Some good ones but most
badly thought out and poorly constructed essays, pouring out reams and reams
of unsolicited self-congratulations.
Let me give you cues from the other side of the table on how a good top
management career-changing resume needs to be crafted. It is a piece of art.
But firstly remember, do not take out that old resume that was written some
decades ago and try to spruce it up by removing the cobwebs of time from it.
Remember, the key thing is that a resume is not your life-story. It is a
selling document. It is more like a Marcom document selling a product to a
customer than a letter of confession sent to a clergyman. It is supposed to
be marketing a brand — YOU.
And the key to the ‘sell’, as Johnson says, is to make your resume speak
that which the prospective employer is looking out for in an employee and
not what you want to say. Badly constructed CVs, at times, resemble a boring
leaf out of the ‘Yellow Pages’ — lots of names, data, figures etc.
What they miss out on big time is the soul and spirit. A resume is a 2-page
— five -minute litmus test... in the first five minutes, the HR honcho takes
a call — whether to meet you or not. Your resume has to do that initial sell
in that amount of time.
Do not commence writing your resume till you have clearly understood the
nature of the assignment being offered, the experience, profile and the
competencies that the employer is looking out for in the prospective
candidate. Integrity is very critical, so do not ever lie in a resume.
Identify your marketable skills and promptly highlight those elements of
your achievements, experiences and competencies that have an appeal and
interest to the prospective employer. Turnovers, markets, span of control,
challenges, leadership, governance can embellish your resume.
Use the right phrases, an interesting format and smart stationary to make
your resume visually interesting. After all, it will have all the virtues a
good packaging has to the sale of a product.
“One size fits all” does not work in a resume, which is the general error
that most applicants tend to make, preferring a general chronological
narration of life-cycle. Uniquely target the resume to the firm. Rifle shots
meet targets, shot-guns don’t.
While you could detail things out a little later, the first page of your
resume should hit the prospective employer between the eyes with five things
about your marketable skills and the relevance of your experience that they
are actually seeking of their prospective candidate, creating the “aha”
Go through the company website, read business magazines, trade journals,
speak to people who know that company and do your research. Lacing your
resume with a relevant piece of information of the prospective company is
like rum flavouring your plum cake.
Proof your resume before sending; you don’t want typos to be wrongly
perceived as part of your general ‘non-detailing’ nature.
However, remember, the resume is only one part of the process of assessment
Aligning the resume to the rest of the assessment process will determine a
favourable closure to that dream job.