When you are on the hunt for a new job, it is always better to anticipate than to assume. The ability to anticipate needs, industry shifts, problems, and when it is time to instigate change is an excellent quality. On the flipside, the habit of making assumptions can cost you a job. This applies to your resume too. Let’s take a look at examples from Ron’s resume. If Ron changes his mindset from assumption to anticipation, he can craft a resume that opens doors. Here are the three areas for improvement we identified on Ron’s resume.
1.) Avoid Acronyms and Insider Terminology
“Conduct WAMP and CPAMP reporting.” “Participated in Baskin’s Best Group for 3 consecutive years.”
We pulled these items from Ron’s resume. Most outsiders won’t know these intercompany acronyms and terms. What is Baskin’s Group? Each of those items are potentially impressive accomplishments. However, Ron made the assumption that the reader will somehow interpret these cryptic references. Take a look how we revamped those lines.
“Analyzed sales and revenue reports from 123 retail stores nationwide to create consolidated report for senior management team.” “Selected as 1 of 6 employees from 304 employees in Northwest Region to participate in Baskin’s Best Group, regional focus group to discuss training and employee morale.”
Now the reader has the complete picture. Also, Ron has anticipated the readers’ desire for examples of how his work impacted his prior employer’s bottom line. That’s impressive!
2.) Research the Target Job
Ron committed a great deal of space to explaining his role in tax reporting. In fact, nearly 30% of his resume covers his tax consulting and reporting functions, as an employee and in his 10-year seasonal side business. The problem is that the company that Ron submitted his resume is hiring a managerial accountant. A managerial accountant’s role is to lead reporting and analysis that drive a company’s profitability. So, Ron is better served to discuss his experience in budgeting, performance evaluations, forecasting, and cost control. A quick review of the job posting would show Ron that tax reporting experience is not a requirement. Therefore, Ron will pay a toll for using 30% of his space on tax reporting.
To attract the reader, we advise that Ron research the job and employer. Ron can market himself for this job by showing his extensive experience creating detailed analytical reports that helped his former employer increase net revenue 18% last year.
3.) Explain Yourself Well
Many times I will ask a candidate what they are trying to express with a particular statement. It surprises me how many candidates say, “Well, most people in my business will know what I mean.” When your resume is read by a hiring manager they may have a greater understanding of your job functions. However, your resume may be screened by one, two, or more people before it gets to the experts in your job functions. Why leave this to chance? More importantly, why not take every opportunity you can to sell yourself. It’s not just about the function. It’s about how you did your job and achieved results better than anyone else.
Here is what Ron wrote:
“Performed calculations and reports, leading to decisions.”
After digging deeper, here is the revised line that better explains the magnitude of what Ron did.
Increased profit margin by 12.9% (reaching margin of 56%) in women’s handbags by factoring in all cost drivers to provide comprehensive report for management to use when selecting products for fall line.”
The Bottom Line
What is the biggest difference between anticipation and assumption? Assumption is one’s opinion of a situation or an outcome without proof or study. Anticipation is a prediction based on study and analysis. When you are planning a career, don’t trust your assumptions of what the employer needs and wants. Don’t assume that the employer will understand your insider lingo or shorthand terms. Instead, study the employer so you can anticipate the employer’s needs and present the skills and knowledge the employer will find valuable.
If you would like to read more about resume writing, please check out these articles:
Resume Help: Responsible for a Bad Resume