Everyone knows that your resume must include information about your skills and experience. But almost no one understands how to make that information stand out in a crowd of candidates with similar skills and experience.
Most people take the paint-by-numbers approach to writing their resumes. They take a copy of their current job description and cut and paste their job duties into bullet points under their title.
So their resume reads something like this:
2010 – 2014 Mortgage Processor Some Bank
- Served as initial point of contact for the program
- Acted as a liaison between borrower, underwriter, loan originator and lender
- Provided customer with timely and periodic status updates of their loan application
- Established, maintained, and updated files, databases, records, and/or other documents for recurring internal reports
- Process the documents received for each file, verifying the accuracy and completeness of each document.
- Other duties as assigned.
Here’s what’s wrong with this resume: it doesn’t tell a hiring manager what she really wants to know. I’m pretty sure that someone who hires and manages mortgage processors is aware of the usual duties assigned to those workers. She wrote the job description.
What she really wants to know is this: How good are you at what you do? How complex was your work? How demanding was your workload? How did your customers rate your work? How effective were your outcomes?
None of that information appears in your job description or your typical cut and paste resume writing. But you can fix that. Here’s how.
First, we assume you were good at your job. If not, you may not have much to say. If that’s the case, I strongly suggest you build experience and competence before looking for another position. But assuming you are skilled, there are ways to make your experience more compelling for a recruiter or hiring manager.
First, quantify your workload. See if you find one of these descriptions more compelling than the other.
- Managed a portfolio of pending loans
- Managed a monthly portfolio of 25 loans with an average closing time of 12 business days
It’s easy to see which candidate makes a better case for getting hired. Adding quantitative details helps a hiring manager decide whether your experience is a match for the workload on his team. Whenever you can, you should add details about the amount of work you did. “Front office receptionist, responsible for greeting visitors, accepting deliveries and answering 10 incoming lines which transferred to over 120 extensions.”
You should also mention any accomplishments that set you apart from other workers. Were you selected to serve on – or lead – a special project? Did you receive a customer service or perfect attendance award? Did you set a sales record or receive consistent performance bonuses? All helpful to someone who’s trying to decide among candidates.
When you compete against other professionals with the same title and job description, quantifying your experience and accomplishments will help point out why you’re the right match for the job.