Do you realize how easy it is for your executive resume to get trashed or deleted, even if you qualify for the job? It happens more times than not, primarily because of a gap that tends to arise between who you are and what you do, and how that’s expressed on paper. Or, I should say, how that’s not expressed on paper. The #1 blunder in resumes today is lack of specifics. Specifics provide an illustration for the reader. Paint a picture in the hiring decision maker’s mind, and you’re more likely to prompt him to call you over your competition.
A best practice is to present specifics repeatedly on your resume. Begin with the summary or profile, then the areas of expertise, scope of responsibility, and achievements. Particularly in the summary, avoid words such as “committed,” and “results-oriented,” in favor of phrases that indicate actual results, such as “Reputation for delivering an average 10% revenue growth year over year in every position held.”
Non-specific: Created, developed, and managed the 3-year strategic marketing plan.
Specific: Built and managed the 3-year marketing plan, which called for launching into the health care vertical, tightening the release date for the signature product, and deepening account penetration with the top 10 clients.
Specifics deliver impact when they convey numbers. Those numbers can come in the form of dollars, percentages, rankings, amounts, or time. Dollars and percentages indicate clear growth or savings. Rankings add significance and context to achievements. Amounts indicate the scope of your achievements. And time is an important indicator that tells the hiring decision maker you can achieve the goal faster than your competition. Following is an example illustrating the use of specific dollar and time indicators:
Non-specific: Designed and deployed a FIX portal instrumental to increasing equity trades.
Specific: Designed and deployed a FIX portal instrumental to increasing equity trades from $170 billion to $7.7 trillion the very next quarter.
Tend toward specifics as many times as possible in your resume. There’s no longer any such concept as saving the details for the interview. In the competitive environment of job search today, you’re more likely to be chosen for the interview when you say how you achieved specific results for your employers. Click here for more examples of specific resume language, words to avoid, and complete resume samples.