Finding the Information Balance

One of the most common mistakes made in self-written resumes is failing to encompass good information in the resume. Most job seekers believe all they need to do is get down a basic overview of the tasks each job entailed and it will gain interviews. Unfortunately, “just the facts, ma’am” doesn’t work in winning interviews. To be effective, the resume must cover how the job seeker rose above the job description and performed well.

For example, here is a blurb from a resume that was written by the job seeker for his position as Office Manager. He thought it was done quite well.

• Handle accounts payable/receivable
• Procurement of goods and services for office
• Making cash forecasts & manage cash on hand
• Formulate and maintain the office budget.
• Coordinate with Exxon corporate, finance department & Anderson for back-office book keeping
• Handle all financial inquires from company regional offices.
• Process and arrange payments for inter-company billings.
• Maintain & update all service agreements and contracts
• Organize, conduct and maintain office inventories
• Coordinate with internal / external auditors for annual audits
• Review and analyze financial statements for the regional office and suggest management of any cost effective measures
• Prepare / generate financial reports for management
• Processing employee expense reports according to company travel policy
• Document time and associated costs spent on projects to allow recovery of costs from partners if the project subsequently proceeds to development.

It is done quite well for a job description but it tells absolutely NOTHING about how the job seeker performed in the position or accomplishments to his credit during his tenure. Unfortunately, this is how most job seekers write their resumes. They can easily get their job descriptions down on paper; it’s articulating how they excelled or contributed to success that can be difficult.

Here are a few possible alternative bullets for this individual’s resume. See if you can tell the difference.

• Realized 36% savings on office materials through review of vendor contracts and strategic negotiation of better prices/rates.
• Saved over $650,000 through streamlining of accounts payable to leverage discounts and volume purchasing.
• Rapidly generated key set of financial reports that assisted executive management and risk management personnel in short-notice subpoena of records under the Patriot Act for overseas account.
The tasks behind the accomplishments are evident but what really shines are the accomplishments themselves. These bullets really generate excitement and interest in the candidate rather than affecting a ho-hum on the reader.

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