I dreamed about Albert Einstein the other night. I dreamed I was reading dear Albert`s resume, and it said …”Results-oriented scientist, researcher and author with a broad range ofexperience in cosmology, astrophysics and related areas. Extensive background in laboratory research, mathematical computation, writing and lecturing.”
In my nightmare, one of the most exciting people ever to grace our planet wasreduced to a boring, lifeless shell on paper. If it could happen to Albert Einstein, it could happen to you!
We pick up bad habits over time, but we can break them. Our moms got us to stop biting our nails (most of us, anyway). We can stop describing ourselves in soporific terms, and bring a little color and spark back into our resumes.
The weirdest thing about prevailing resume dogma is that it encourages us to tell the reader everything he or she needs to know about what we`ve done so far in our careers – everything except the punchline! A typical resume, for instance, will include a bullet like this one:
“Answered calls for salespeople, created sales reports, and resolved sales order discrepancies.”
This resume bullet and the 10 million resume bullets like it leave me feeling like a character on “Seinfeld” during the famous “Yada Yada” episode, where the most important details of every story are glossed over with an airy “Yada yada” in place of the deets.
We want the story! Why were those salespeople calling you? What did you tell them? What good did it do, when you shared that information? What bad thing would have happened if you hadn`t answered the phone? Who read those sales reports, and what did s/he do with the information?
You get the idea.
Keep the blood and guts in your resume. Tell us not only what you did in each job you held, but why. Tell us who cared, and tell us why that person cared enough to put you on Task A or Project X rather than something else entirely. Tell us why your work mattered to your employer, and why it mattered to you.
Give us a reason to care, too.
Liz Ryan is the CEO of Ask Liz Ryan, a Boulder human-resources and career-development consulting firm. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.