Monday, July 21, 2014

Resume Triggers

What emotion does your resume trigger?  Are you leaving your readers with positive or negative thoughts about you?  Every resume will trigger some response.  The goal of your resume is to trigger a real conversation, a desire to meet and speak with you, while also avoiding any negative triggers.  So take the time and effort to craft a resume that will help you meet this goal.


A negative trigger is something on your resume that will concern, upset, or merely annoy your readers.  Here are some examples of things better left off your resume:

• Using clichés like “team player,” “results-oriented,” etc…  Be more creative when describing your value as an employee.

• Repeating the same phrase throughout your resume – this can be annoying.

• If applying for a job as an individual contributor, using words such as, “I led the team…” or “I managed that…” may lead a reader to subconsciously believe you are really looking to be a manager and that you are the wrong person for the job.  In this case, you’re not likely to even get an interview.   What’s a better option?  Just mention your individual contributions to a project and clearly explain how your work was successful in that area.

• How much is enough? Don’t include too much information on your resume.  Your reader will get tired and annoyed, and most likely will have to work too hard to find the “good” information.  This applies both to the length of your resume (how many pages do you realistically expect people to read?) as well as  having too many bullet points for each project you discuss.  Keep it clean, simple, and interesting – leave room for your reader to ask for more information if they are curious.


• Show people that you are well rounded, interesting, and curious.  Try to connect with your reader by understanding the psychology of the position and knowing what information to include or highlight.  You can do this by reading into the “desirable” part of a job search (for example, if they prefer a Mandarin speaker but don’t require it, and you don’t speak the language, you can highlight your interest and knowledge of the culture and desire to travel there).   This can add another dimension to you as a person, as well as to your potential “fit” in the position.

• Have a well-executed, uncluttered resume.  For example, for each job or project, a nice format for your bullet points could look like this:
      • What you did and which technologies or tools your used (in one sentence)
      • What was the result? (very brief).
A clean and precise format such as this will automatically show that you are logical and result-driven.

• Be interesting!  Show your reader that there is more to you than just a list of jobs and projects.  Let them understand who you are.  Under “Interests” or “Hobbies” put something about yourself that will most likely prompt people to ask you for more information.  Examples: Performing music (not just playing), mountain climbing, worldwide travel, love of art… This section, generally at the very end of your resume, doesn’t need to be job-related.  Try to spark your reader’s interest and maybe even make a connection.


A good resume will not only generate a positive response, but also a curiosity that should trigger some good questions, allowing you the chance to show off your attributes and your work experience. 

When you do get that first interview, make sure to show integrity, a strong desire to work there, and the kind of person you are.  Do your best to trigger a desire to work with you, to spend time with you, and to get to know you better.