• Lori A. Jazvac, MRW

How A Master-Level Résumé Strategy Can Position You for Success

Updated: Dec 10, 2019


What does your résumé really communicate to the employer?

Does it articulate your true value or set you back?

If you want to achieve better and faster results with your job search, while positioning yourself for a higher-level role, then you need a Master-level résumé strategy. A mediocre résumé simply won't pass the test with employers or recruiters in today's competitive market. A Master-level résumé that fleshes out metric-driven accomplishments will position you for your targeted role.

This past year, I have seen jobseekers make three mistakes in their résumés. While their résumés portray well-rounded expertise and skills, these three particular mistakes may prove costly to a candidate's job search process and career success:

1. Leaving out the career target/focus.

2. Looking backwards rather than forwards.

3. Failing to extract solid results.

1. Leaving out the career target/focus.

How often do you leave out the career target in your résumé, making the employer or recruiter to wonder what is your exact career goal?

Interestingly enough, 99% of résumés that come across my desk lack a clear target.

A client applying for a management role suggested to remove the career focus/target as she thought it would be implied and that maybe the employer would be able to guess or identify the target anyway. She thought that she could then apply to different positions.

Definitely not.

A career target or focus always needs to be positioned at the top of the first page of the résumé that includes the targeted role or title, type of company, and industry followed by a compelling brand statement. Without this information, the résumé is void of direction and is generic.

As a Master Résumé Writer, I customize the résumé to the position that you are aiming for. The employer needs to know your career focus and target and how it aligns with his/her buying motivators and organizational goals. With a customized résumé that highlights your brand, the employer will see how you stand apart and would be positioned within a certain role and work environment.

Here's an example of a career target written for a client applying for a QC Lead role in the oilfield construction and maintenance sector followed by his brand statement:

QUALITY CONTROL LEAD | OILFIELD CONSTRUCTION & MAINTENANCE

Maximizing Efficiencies ► Driving Strategic Plans ► Optimizing Quality & Safety

The clearer you are about where you’re going in your career, the more effective your résumé and job search will be. “Generic” résumés –– those without a specific job focus –– are not as successful in generating interviews.

2. Looking backwards rather than forwards.

A résumé is not a career obituary that must include every detail of your entire life, dating work history back to a few decades. These details may be important to who you are, but not necessarily important for the résumé for a particular job target.

Sure, you may have achieved some notable milestones during your earlier career. The job in retail where you honed excellent customer service and relationship building skills may have paved the way for your present success as a sales executive. However, your past experience and milestones will not be likely weighed important as your most recent experience and milestones.

Therefore, it is important to use sound judgment to highlight the most relevant content and convey your career milestones. Some jobseekers tend to overemphasize past accomplishments, while minimizing present accomplishments in some cases. In other cases, I've seen accomplishments interwoven with responsibilities or simply buried, which conceals a candidate's true value. Responsibilities need to be clearly differentiated from the accomplishments.

Solution: highlight the most recent experience and accomplishments, drawing the employer's eye to the important content and visuals. Briefly sum up past experience and milestones as follows:

Past Experience: Account Manager, A1 Market Solutions, Toronto, ON (5 years)

► Earned Highest Achieving Sales Professional Award in the first month –– surpassing targets by 80%.

3. Failing to extract solid results.

I have worked with jobseekers who focus more on the responsibilities in the résumé or insist on stopping halfway at the accomplishment without delving deeper into the results, which is important in setting them apart from the competition. Many are not fully aware of the quantitative details or consider some details trivial to articulating their career narrative.

Yet, delving deeper into the accomplishments is critical in capturing the essence of your career story. It will help you realize your unique value.

To convey solid accomplishments:

>> Ask yourself: what DIFFERENCE OR VALUE did you bring to that role?

>> Reflect: What were your proudest milestones?

>> Think CHALLENGE- ACTION - RESULTS. For example, by how much did you increase revenue, save money, reduce costs, enhance time management, or drive innovation? What were the precise results? (Track your milestones in a log).

>> Delve deeper into the CONTEXT OF THE SITUATION.

>> Lead with the RESULTS each time to stand out.

>> Convey your story CONCISELY and ACCURATELY throughout each accomplishment.

For example:

Mentored newly appointed CEOs.

vs.

Accelerated performance 40% through mentoring newly appointed CEOs in 5 countries on implementing best governance practices.

Compare the two statements above. Do you see the difference?

The first statement can be described as a responsibility (what was done)–– we do not see the results or the impact of the mentoring –– although many jobseekers see the first statement as an implied accomplishment.

The second statement leads with an effective action verb to quantify results (what was the impact). It describes the strategy taken while adding some context or detail to the accomplishment to convey the story for the employer. It gives the big picture.

Résumés that leave out even a few significant criteria could be easily screened out or passed up by the employer. Read more here about my Master-level résumé strategy.

View some résumé samples.

Transform your résumé into a powerful brand marketing tool for career success! Contact Creative Horizons Communications at 905-730-2374 or creativehorizonsrésumés@gmail.com for more information.

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