I’ve led a sheltered (work) life. Most of my jobs have come through personal connections. Now that I’m looking for work every which way, I’ve been warned that my resume is lame and drab and poorly represents me as a copy editor. I’m sure this is true. I know how to edit an article, but I haven’t got a clue how to write a resume, or where to look for proper examples. (There are a lot of trashy ones on the web.)
I thought I’d post without further comment a resume assessment that I received from one of the job-hunting websites. The fact that the writer has an ulterior motive, to sell me an expensive resume-writing service, doesn’t invalidate his critique. I don’t doubt it. What fascinates me, though, is how all-important the resume has become. It says something about the ascendancy of marketing and advertising that the assessment of our skills is now supposedly based on the gloss and graphics of our personal billboard, more than the strength of our references or work samples. (Red highlighting added by me.)
I’m the Jobfox resume expert who was assigned to evaluate your resume. I reviewed your resume with the goal of giving you an honest, straightforward assessment of your current resume, and not a judgment of your skills and qualifications. I should warn you about my style: I’m direct and to the point, so I hope you won’t be offended by my comments. My goal is to help you present yourself to potential employers in the best possible light, increasing your odds of landing a job you want.
So, let’s get started on reviewing your resume:
Here’s the good news: My first impression of you is that you have an impressive array of skills and experiences. You’re a qualified Senior Copy Editor with a lot to offer an employer. Now, here’s the bad news: Your resume does not pass the 30-second test, and the content is not up to the standards one would expect from a candidate like you. Countless studies have proven that resume quality is the key determinant as to whether a candidate is selected to be interviewed. Your resume needs a boost from a visual, content, and overall writing standpoint to engage the reader. It needs to make them want to learn more about you. I didn’t find it to be exciting, and it didn’t make me want to run to the phone to call you. In short, your resume is effectively sabotaging your job search.
Annie, your resume is missing key elements that we see on the best resumes at your level of experience. Here are the major issues I see on your resume:
Your resume’s visual presentation
We’ve all been told that looks don’t matter as much as substance, but in the case of your resume this just isn’t true. I found your design to be visually uneven and simplistic. The appearance is not polished, and it doesn’t say “high potential Senior Copy Editor.” Remember that your resume is your marketing tool. It’s the first impression a potential employer has of you. Now – think about how generic brands are marketed versus the name brand. The packaging, advertising and branding are all carefully selected to attract attention and convince you to buy. Your resume should do the same thing- you want to be the brand name product. I’m concerned that your resume is selling you like a generic, and that it’s not likely to get picked among those of other candidates. The ideal resume design is airy, clean, and uncluttered, with the effective and strategic use of white space.
The content of your resume
As I was reading your resume, I was trying to imagine myself as a hiring executive, looking for that ideal Senior Copy Editor. When I reviewed your resume, I asked myself if I could easily pick out your key attributes, experience, skills and accomplishments. A recruiter will do this to quickly decide if you’ll be successful in the job they have open. When I read your resume, the answer to that question was “no.” Here is one of the reasons why:
Your resume has an objective statement instead of a career summary. An objective is more for a new college grad or someone very early in their career. A career summary is a critical element of your resume and it should be designed to compel the hiring manager to keep reading. The purpose of this section is to define you as a professional and cover those areas most relevant to your career level and job target. By not having this you are making it easier for the reviewer to say “pass” when your resume is given the customary cursory glance.
From the way the resume is worded, you come across as a “doer,” not an “achiever.” Too many of your job descriptions are task-based and not results-based. This means that they tell what you did, instead of what you achieved. This is a common mistake for non-professional resume writers. To be effective and create excitement, a great resume helps the hiring executive “envision” or “picture” you delivering similar achievements at his or her company. Here are some examples of task-based sentences in your resume:
- Copyedit and fact check monthly articles addressed to a professional audience of scientists
- Edit and vet all articles for clean copy, lucid style, and factual accuracy on a monthly deadline
Employers want to know about your previous contributions and specifically how you’ve made a difference. More importantly, they want to know how you are going to make a significant difference at their company.
When I read your resume, I didn’t find compelling language that brings your work to life. I saw many passive words and non-action verbs. Phrases like “evaluated” and “copyedited” add no value to your resume. Strong action verbs, used with compelling language to outline exemplary achievements, are essential parts of a well-constructed resume.
Now, let’s put it all together. Here’s a real life example taken from a former client’s resume. By changing the language, we helped improve the perception of the candidate.
- Passive language/ Doing: Duties include dealing with difficult customer service issues
- Action language/ Achieving: Entrusted with the most complex customer service issues as a result of exceptional ability to promptly resolve concerns and satisfy customers.
A change like this makes a dramatic improvement. [In this specific case I disagree. I think it sounds like puffery and hype from a professional resume writer. Employers aren’t stupid. Are they?] I hope you can see the difference when we implement action verbs, achievements, and results.
The writing on your resume
It’s easy to overlook errors in your resume. They could be typographical errors, inconsistent verb tenses, grammatical errors, punctuation problems, or misspelled words. You’ve rewritten the resume and proofed it multiple times so you may not notice the issue. But errors can be the kiss of death for your resume. Recruiters are reading your resume with fresh eyes, and they’re experts at finding errors. A misspelled word or punctuation error may not seem like a big deal, but to an employer these errors demonstrate unprofessionalism and a lack of attention to detail. That’s not the impression you want to leave. I spotted at least one of the above-mentioned errors on your resume.
• I liked your use of bullets to emphasize, but you probably want to consider limiting them in some areas to increase the impact to the employer. If they see too many bullets, they might find it difficult to zero in on the most important information. Size and type of bullets are also a consideration. Although seemingly minor, visual impact of a resume is the key to ensuring that an employer reads it thoroughly.
• When reading through your resume, I noticed that it contained several pages. And, this doesn’t even include your cover letter. Employers have a limited amount of time to scan resumes in their initial search, so you want your resume to be as concise as possible.
• Make sure that the additional pages of your resume have contact information on them. If a hiring manager prints your resume, but for some reason, the pages are accidentally separated, the manager is still able to identify the additional pages. They will not spend time trying to place a page that has been separated and will move on to the next resume.
Your resume is selling you short, and I recommend that you make the investment in having it professionally rewritten. Professional resume writers are skilled at writing a resume for the job you aspire to have. They are trained to help move you up the ladder in your field. They are also skilled at taking what you have done in the past and translating it to show how it is relevant to other industries or professions.
Many people ask a friend or colleague to help them write a resume. Sadly, unless they are an experienced, certified resume writer this is usually a big mistake. Companies now use electronic tools to capture, evaluate, and screen incoming resumes, so your resume must be organized with the right structure, keywords, and format to be “processed” by a resume tracking system properly. It must be designed to identify select, and track you as a qualified candidate. This is known as keyword optimization and most non-professionals are not well-versed in this technique.
Putting your best resume forward now is critical. The sooner you invest in having your resume professionally written, the faster you increase your odds of landing a job you want. Once your old resume goes into a company’s database, it stays there permanently and could affect your candidacy for other jobs at that company as well. You will be amazed when you see the difference a professionally-written resume can make in presenting your credentials.
As I’m sure you know, be certain to send a cover letter when you forward your resume directly to a recruiter or hiring executive for a specific job. A well-written cover letter can give you a valuable edge over other candidates with similar skills. It’s the best way to make a memorable appeal that grabs attention and personally links you to the job. Use it to explain why you are uniquely qualified for the specific role. Jobfox can craft a custom cover letter that distinguishes you from the crowd (and it’s free when you purchase a professionally-written and formatted resume.)
Why Have Your Resume Rewritten by Jobfox?
To encourage you to make the investment now, we are offering our best price on our resume writing services in the first 7 days after you view your resume evaluation. Save $75 off our standard price of $399. In addition, we are the only resume service that offers the option to pay for your resume in installments. We spread the cost over six months to make our service affordable for everyone.
If you purchase in the next 7 days, you have the option to make a one-time payment of $324 (a $75 savings), or six monthly payments of $59.00. Either way, you will still have your new documents back in 4-6 business days so you can improve your chances of getting hired quickly.
What’s included in the Jobfox Resume writing Service?
- Professionally written resume in Microsoft Word format
- Electronic version of your resume (e-resume)
- Resume Keyword optimization
- Professionally written reusable cover letter (if you order in the next 7 days)