Your Resume is Not About You


“But this resume is about me. ME!”

“No, this resume is not about you,” I responded.

“This resume is not about me? Then who is it about?” asked Michelle.

“This resume is about the hiring manager.”

I was speaking with Michelle a project manager at a large New York City bank. We were discussing how
to present her projects and accomplishments on her resume and in her spoken communications.
Specifically, we were discussing how to present the results of her great accomplishments. Michelle
thought there was a more direct way to state her accomplishments and she was concentrating on
grammar, sentence structure, and word choices.

“Don’t you think this is a more direct way to write about my accomplishments?”

I took some time to explain how resumes are read, or more accurately not read. I told Michelle that only 2 people are going to read her resume from beginning to end – the 2 of us. It was unlikely that anyone else, including recruiters and hiring managers, would read this resume all the way through. In fact, the higher level a candidate, the more likely it is that the hiring manager will not take time to read the resume. All resumes are advertising documents, but the more senior a candidate, the more this is true.

“…We Must Demonstrate Value…”

I believe that resumes should be written in a style that promotes hiring managers easily finding their pain points. Frequently candidates ask me, “Is this a good resume format?” Honestly? I’ve written 15,000+ resumes in the last 20 years. To me a good format is the format that currently works. People have less and less time to think, to strategize, to read. This is especially true of hiring managers, and the more senior they are the less time they have. What is the format that works for these senior hiring managers? Formats that allow them to see quickly how the candidate brings value to their organization. In the working world we are all cost centers or profit centers.

If we are salesman, sales leader, marketing manager, regional manager, and head of a division, we must show revenue results for our work. These people constitute profit centers. Most of us are cost centers. That means we must demonstrate value in terms of production efficiencies, regulatory compliance, cost savings, working capital, management reporting, project delivery, quality production, safety, and many other areas.

“…this is how the hiring manager would assess his needs/the candidate’s value”

For instance, let’s say a candidate has led the business and IT side of a mission-critical, corporate-wide initiative that aligned the organization with regulatory guidelines, secured company data, lowered headcount, decreased software licensing, cut maintenance costs, empowered the marketing team to track programs in real time, directly enabled the sales team, and improved management reporting. Clearly this is a large, important project. But I would not present this project as one project. I would present this project in terms of outcomes. In other words, this one project would be 4 or 5 projects — because this is how the hiring manager would assess his needs/the candidate’s value.

Hiring managers look at their challenges in terms of single buckets. They have specific needs. When I coach a candidate and write his resume, I emphasize the solutions that the candidate delivers on behalf of the hiring manager and the organization. Candidates tend to think in terms of, “this is what I did,” but hiring managers think in terms of, “this is what hurts.”

Read More


  1. Oh my goodness! Amazing article dude! Many thanks, However I am having issues with your
    RSS. I don’t know the reason why I am unable to join it.
    Is there anybody having similar RSS problems? Anyone
    that knows the solution will you kindly respond? Thanks!!

  2. Woah! I’m really enjoying the template/theme of this site. It’s simple, yet effective. A lot of times it’s hard to get that “perfect balance” between user friendliness and visual appeal. I must say you have done a fantastic job with this. In addition, the blog loads extremely quick for me on Chrome. Exceptional Blog!|

  3. Good day! I could have sworn I’ve been to this blog before but after checking through some of the post I realized it’s new to me. Anyhow, I’m definitely glad I found it and I’ll be book-marking and checking back frequently!|

  4. Thanks a lot for sharing this with all folks you really understand what you are talking approximately! Bookmarked. Please also talk over with my web site =). We may have a link exchange contract between us|

  5. I’ve been exploring for a little for any high-quality articles or weblog posts on this sort of space . Exploring in Yahoo I finally stumbled upon this website. Studying this info So i’m glad to convey that I’ve a very excellent uncanny feeling I found out just what I needed. I such a lot for sure will make sure to do not overlook this web site and provides it a look regularly.|

  6. Hi there! This is my first visit to your blog! We are a group of volunteers and starting a new project in a community in the same niche. Your blog provided us useful information to work on. You have done a wonderful job!|

  7. Thank you, I’ve recently been looking for information approximately this subject for ages and yours is the best I have discovered till now. However, what concerning the bottom line? Are you positive concerning the source?|

  8. Howdy! I could have sworn I’ve been to this blog before but after going through a few of the posts I realized it’s new to me. Nonetheless, I’m certainly pleased I came across it and I’ll be book-marking it and checking back regularly!|

  9. My coder is trying to persuade me to move to .net from PHP. I have always disliked the idea because of the costs. But he’s tryiong none the less. I’ve been using Movable-type on several websites for about a year and am nervous about switching to another platform. I have heard fantastic things about Is there a way I can transfer all my wordpress content into it? Any help would be greatly appreciated!|

  10. Everything posted was very reasonable. But, what about this? what if you were to write a awesome headline? I ain’t suggesting your information isn’t good., but suppose you added something to possibly grab a person’s attention? I mean BLOG_TITLE is kinda vanilla. You should glance at Yahoo’s front page and note how they create news headlines to get people to open the links. You might add a related video or a pic or two to get readers interested about what you’ve written. Just my opinion, it might bring your posts a little bit more interesting.|

  11. What i do not realize is in reality how you’re now not really much more neatly-appreciated than you may be right now. You are very intelligent. You already know therefore considerably relating to this topic, produced me in my view imagine it from so many numerous angles. Its like men and women are not interested except it is one thing to accomplish with Lady gaga! Your own stuffs outstanding. Always handle it up!|

  12. My brother suggested I might like this blog. He was entirely right. This post truly made my day. You can not imagine simply how much time I had spent for this information! Thanks!|

  13. Excellent post. I used to be checking continuously this blog and I am impressed! Extremely helpful information specifically the ultimate phase 🙂 I deal with such info much. I used to be looking for this particular info for a long time. Thank you and good luck. |

  14. Hi there! Quick question that’s completely off topic. Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly? My web site looks weird when viewing from my iphone4. I’m trying to find a theme or plugin that might be able to correct this problem. If you have any suggestions, please share. Cheers!|

  15. I do not know whether it’s just me or if perhaps everybody else encountering issues with your website. It appears as if some of the written text in your content are running off the screen. Can somebody else please comment and let me know if this is happening to them too? This might be a problem with my browser because I’ve had this happen previously. Many thanks|

  16. I’m curious to find out what blog platform you’re working with? I’m experiencing some small security problems with my latest site and I would like to find something more safe. Do you have any solutions?|

  17. Hey there, You have done a fantastic job. I’ll definitely digg it and personally recommend to my friends. I’m confident they will be benefited from this web site.|

  18. Howdy! Do you know if they make any plugins to help with Search Engine Optimization? I’m trying to get my blog to rank for some targeted keywords but I’m not seeing very good success. If you know of any please share. Kudos!|

  19. wonderful put up, very informative. I ponder why the opposite experts of this sector do not notice this. You must continue your writing. I am confident, you have a huge readers’ base already!|

  20. My developer is trying to convince me to move to .net from PHP. I have always disliked the idea because of the expenses. But he’s tryiong none the less. I’ve been using WordPress on several websites for about a year and am worried about switching to another platform. I have heard excellent things about Is there a way I can transfer all my wordpress content into it? Any help would be really appreciated!|

  21. My spouse and I stumbled over here different website and thought I might check things out. I like what I see so now i am following you. Look forward to looking over your web page yet again.|


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here