THE BRAZEN CAREERIST- Resume tease: Leave employer panting for more

It's very hard to write your own resume because a resume shows your life in a macro view. But you live your life at the micro level, obsessing about daily details that have no bearing on your resume. So I recommend spending money on a resume writer, one of the few expenditures that will pay good return right away.

  Some people will be able to do a decent job crafting a resume on their own, but they need to rethink the goals of a resume, and rethink the rules of a resume in order to approach the project like the best resume professionals:

  1. Don't focus on responsibilities; focus on what you achieved.

A resume is not your life story. No one cares. If your life story were so interesting, you'd have a book deal.

The only things that should be on your resume are achievements. Anyone can do a job, but few can do their job well wherever they go. The best way to show you did your job well is with achievements.

The best achievement is a promotion, an objective way to show that you impressed the people you work for. The next best way is to present quantified achievements.

No one can see that you were a "good team player" unless you can say "established a team to solve problem x and increased sales x percent" or "joined under-performing team and helped that team beat production delivery dates by three weeks."  

If you're putting only achievements on your resume, you're going to be hard-pressed to fill a whole page. That's okay. Anything on your resume that's not an achievement is wasting space because you don't know what a hiring manager will read first. If you have 10 good achievements and three mediocre lines about your life story, the hiring manager may only read those three lines— so remove them.

2. Don't make your resume a moral statement; it's a marketing document.

The best marketing documents show the product in the very best light, which means using the most outrageous tactics possible to make you look good. As long as you're not lying, you'll be fine.

Here's an example: You join a software company that just launched a product that had so many problems that they had to hire someone to handle the calls. You start doing the tech support, and you work tons of overtime because the calls are so backed up. You clean up the phone queue, and then you start taking long lunches because there's not a lot to do, and then you start job hunting because the job is boring.  

Here's how you summarize this job: "Assumed management responsibility for tech support and decreased call volume 20 percent." How do you know 20 percent? Who knows? It was probably more. But you can't quantify exactly, so err on the safe side. But if you just say "Did tech support for a software company," no one knows you did a good job.

3. Don't give everything away in the resume.

The idea of a resume is to get someone to call you and offer you an interview. So a resume is like a first date. You show only your best stuff, and you don't show it all.

Some people dump everything into their resume, but a resume is not the only chance you'll have to sell yourself. In fact, the interview is where the hard-core selling takes place. So list only your very best achievements. Sure, bosses will have other questions to ask, but that will make them call you. And that's good, right?

Statistics show that people don't want to know everything up front. It doesn't make for a good match. Consider this: of people who get married, only three percent had sex on the first date.