Biz Doc: It Has Come To This

It’s Not About Your Resume

September 2012

Sitting here musing over coffee and a quick note came to mind…

Not too long ago I was speaking with a college student about his resume… and it mirrored a conversation that had just taken place with a colleague 15-years into his career.  The topic was the relevance of the resume to the job search when the job search is for a position that is “out of linear sync” with the historical trend presented on the resume.  Market forces or a career shift are causing this conflict every day.

Welcome to the new reality, folks.  My point of view on this has evolved to this: careers are now 3-year chapters and in today’s hyper-fast market, each chapter does not seamlessly hand-off to the next chapter.  In the past, careers often remained in particular industries where tenure led to deep sector knowledge.  Today, new sectors appear (i.e… social networking) and spawn other sectors (i.e… social gaming) while driving new revenue models (i.e.. ad-driven freemium).  An executive may play in all of the above over a 10-year (or less) period.  Functional expertise and the ability to manage change and innovation from all corners of the enterprise is key.

The solution?  I am not sure there is a universal solvent but there certainly is a new direction when presenting one’s CV to prospective employers.  Here’s my brief take:

1) LinkedIn is key.  The template enables presentation of projects, endorsements and references that augment and illuminate the linear history.  If you are not building them, you need to start now.

2) Start with an objective that defines the job search in terms of your skills and what those skills will deliver.  Think Moneyball (Go read it if you haven’t done so). Sports teams don’t hire players, they buy points and runs that win games.  I strongly suggest NOT listing the title as the objective and simultaneously NOT being too abstract.

3) Summarize results and functional expertise at the top of the resume.  I recently saw a “top-10” list of specific accomplishments that appeared before the normal chronology.  Brilliantly done.

4) Go easy on descriptive bullets that merely illustrate responsibilities.  That doesn’t differentiate you and an “A” candidate and a “F” candidate end up looking alike.  Think about it: Jay Cutler and Peyton Manning have the same responsibilities… Don’t be Jay Cutler.

Good luck –


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