Spotlight Archive - Resumes

Change the Way You Think About Your Resume

Mel Reyes

The number one obstacle that job seekers think they have is their resume. So, I'm here to let you know it's not, but I will show you how to make sure it doesn't become one. At work, you have to focus on the numbers, traffic, security, scalability, vendors; the list goes on and on.  These are the things that will help you with your resume. 

I start my resume reviews by highlighting two key areas to focus on: form and function. How appealing does your resume look?  How relevant is the content?  Formatting your resume can be tricky if you’re not handy with editing, just use the makeover examples below as a guide.  This is a critical focal point but not as important as adding relevant content.  As for content, it’s about the numbers.  You need to showcase your accomplishments (yes, accomplishments, write it down).

DIY Insights 

Form - If you think it doesn't matter, think again

After nearly a decade of working with media agencies, the concept of clean, spacious, and balanced design has been drilled into me. This is why I cringe when I see some resumes. 

Your resume has to have the right margins, consistent fonts, balance of white space, the list goes on and on. You have to remove the use of tables, colorful banners, and must have one font color. Some Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) choke on any custom layouts and exclude specific sections that contain the keywords that will help your resume bubble up to the top. Also, choose a modern Sans Serif font like Calibri, Verdana, or just plain Arial.


Function - This is the meat and potatoes of landing your next gig

As for content, this is the most painful part for most. You need to trim down the hyperbole, the clichés, and drill down to the accomplishments and wins. 

I can't tell you how many times I've read something like this on a resume:

  • Developed and administered a 3-year rotational Internal Audit Plan
  • Established direction and focus of audits 

So, you're asking, what's wrong with that? Here's what is wrong: it doesn't tell me what you did that was measurable, quantifiable, nor made you stand out. It's actually not from a resume, I took it straight out of a job description. Below I highlight the letters that I added to show you how boring it is:

  • Developed and administered a 3-year rotational Internal Audit Plan
  • Established direction and focus of major audits 

If an entry in your resume reads like a job description, then consider deleting the line OR rewrite it. Here's an example of the same two lines showing three things - What was Accomplished; What the Benefit was; What my role was:

  • Created a 3-year rotational Internal Audit Plan with a cross-functional team of four auditors to roll out 12 digital projects yielding a $2M annual sales lift
  • Collaborated with internal staff and 12 vendors to establish audit control optimizations, reducing delivery times by 20%, and saving $250k annually 

So, who would you hire? 

Accomplishments are paramount to showcase what problems you have solved that the hiring managers need to fix in their company. Focus on adding 4-10 measurable results per role, but make sure they focus on results, not tasks.  Did you optimize a business process by 25% and save $2.5M?  Did you roll out a system 6 months ahead of schedule?  Grow a team 2x and increase sales 10x?  Cut budgets by 20% through contract renegotiations?  These are the problems that companies are facing that they will hire you for. 

Re-read each of your job descriptions.  Can you change it to have a measurable, quantifiable accomplishment? If the answer is “No”, then yes, drop it from your resume.  Focus on rewriting every single line to include a measurable accomplishment and optionally with soft skills.

Resume Makeovers

Below you'll see three examples of resume makeovers and can get more tips here. The first resume includes “Notes” with highlights, the rest showcase specific before and after results.  Each one focusing on formatting and accomplishments as key takeaways. 

  • Senior Program Management Leader: Before, Notes, and After
    • Showcase work longevity for roles by left justifying promotion/role change dates
    • Include a single line to inform the reader about what the company’s does and it’s scale in the market
    • Focus on measurable results and wins that highlight scale and scope
    • Don’t include details on roles older than 10-15 years
    • Highlight your Certifications and Affiliations
  • Senior IT Leader: Before and After
    • Remove excessive copy and overselling yourself in your Summary
    • Include and reformat Core Competencies into columns not tables
    • Reduce the copy in each job accomplishment; if possible, no more than two lines, don’t include full sentences
    • Highlight your human aspects by showcasing volunteering efforts
    • Remove dates from Education to avoid age discrimination (too young or too old)
  • Tenured CIO: Before and After
    • Remove heavy shading, inline bolding, horizontal lines, and excessive formatting
    • Reformat to drop the use of tables for layout purposes
    • Add space necessary to make your resume more readable
    • Move Education to the bottom
    • Reformat Volunteering, Patents, and other supporting sections to include dates

Final Thoughts

Focus on form and function, measurable results, and presenting the best you.  Then take your newly crafted accomplishments and drop them right into LinkedIn and let your next job find you! 

Additional articles and tips are available here and please don’t hesitate to connect with me. 

Written by Mel Reyes 

Mel Reyes has been an FWSIM member since 2015 and is the VP, IT Enterprise Program Manager at Synchrony, a leading provider of financial services, headquartered in Stamford, CT.