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What Went Wrong on Izetta’s Resume?

Izetta had 15 years of experience as a chief executive officer in the healthcare field, which should have made it easy for her to get the interview for the position, but her resume landed in the trash instead. What went wrong? Isn’t it enough to have the right experience in the right field? Having the right experience is critical, but that experience doesn’t do you much good unless you clearly show the hiring manager your experience and the VALUE you can bring to the company. Izetta listed her experience and briefly described some of her job duties in her last position, but she failed to show the true benefits of the work she had done in the past. Just showing up for work every day and performing your basic job duties isn’t enough to convince anyone that you would be a valuable asset to their team. When a company hires an employee, they are making an investment (there is a salary that the employee will earn, in addition to the time and money spent on hiring and training), and before making a hiring decision, they want to have some idea of what they can expect from the employee in terms of return-on-investment (ROI). The best way to gauge the expected ROI is by looking at the contributions the employee has made in previous positions.

So, what can you do to help a hiring manager see you as a wise investment? Make sure that your value and contributions show up clearly on your resume. Begin by asking questions like this: How did the last company you worked for benefit from having you as an employee? What contributions did you make? Did you increase profits? Did you save money? Did you improve day-to-day operations? (If so, how did you do it and what impact did it have?) Be as specific as possible. It’s not enough just to say, “I saved the company money.” Try to quantify your contributions whenever possible by describing how you improved things and by how much. For example, a statement such as, “Improved employee retention” does not show as much value as, “Implemented an employee incentive program, increasing employee retention by 5%.” The first statement implies that you benefitted the company in some way, while the second statement shows that you are able to identify areas of need, take action to address that need, and the results are a measurable improvement.

Izetta’s biggest problem on her resume was her lack of quantifiable accomplishments or contributions, but her resume fell short overall because it was not an executive-level resume. It did nothing to show her professionalism or the level of seniority that is expected from someone applying for a C-level executive position. If you want to be taken seriously as an executive (or, at any level, really) your resume needs to be professional.

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What Went Wrong on Katerina’s Resume?

Writing a resume can be tricky business. Sometimes it can be difficult to know what to include and what to leave out. In Katerina’s case, she didn’t know what to leave out and how damaging some things could be. She was under the impression that you should always include your full job history on your resume, but there are times when leaving information off from your resume is far more helpful than including it. In her case, she needed to omit the job that she had back in the 1980’s for several reasons. First, it is ideal to limit your job history to the most recent 10 years. Most of the time, this is going to be the most relevant experience that you have, so you want to keep the focus on it, rather than less relevant experience from your past. If you have significant gaps in your job history, as Katerina does, this isn’t something that you want to brag about to a hiring manager, so leaving off prior jobs is prudent (or, if you feel they need to be listed, list them at the end of the employment history without dates attached to them).

Katerina also listed her college experience, which is generally a good idea, but how she approached it was problematic. Including the dates when she attended college gave the hiring manager a reference point to determine her age, and listing college experience that did not result in a degree, when combined with the gaps in her job history, made it appear as though she has a habit of not following through with things, which is often sends up red flags for hiring managers. She would have been better off omitting the dates she attended college.

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