Great Resume Writing is Like a Vanilla Chai Latte

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Did you know that great resume writing is like a vanilla chai latte?

As an SMB and Fortune 500 Recruiter, I screened thousands of resumes for every level of position and across disciplines. My mindset (and the mindset of most first-line Screeners) was to eliminate as many candidates as possible before starting to fully read selected resumes. Running through my head while I scanned page after page was my conversation with the hiring manager. The competencies required to succeed in this role, the scope and accountability of the position, the personal characteristics that have helped employees thrive on their team, the companies and backgrounds that their current top performers have come from. I searched for alignment with these various facets.

When I encountered an “accomplishments only” resume in the mix, the applicant was frequently screened out. You see, accomplishment statements are highly effective for conveying your success in various roles. However, they may not provide key pieces of information that a recruiter or hiring manager needs to decide if you are qualified for their open position.

Not only does a human screener need this information, electronic screening systems known as Applicant Tracking Systems (ATSs) are scanning your resume for key words or phrases and the length of time you engaged in these targeted activities to determine if you are qualified for their position. You are less likely to achieve an optimal ATS score without some role descriptive information.

In both scenarios (human or electronic screening) the potential employer is trying to determine whether or not you have handled similar scope and responsibilities in your recent positions. We need to learn about your soft skills. We need to assess if your “Director of Operations” role is equivalent to a “Director of Operations” role within our company. We need to know things like: How many direct reports have you supervised? Have you led cross-functional teams? Have you effectively managed a 7-figure operating budget before? What functions have you overseen? How collaborative or siloed were your employer organizations?

If you provide accomplishments but omit role descriptions, you may not cover these key points and wind up in the group of rejected applicants. An over-burdened Recruiter will always pursue the candidates they KNOW are qualified first. If they don’t find an ideal candidate in the mix, they may come back to you and ask for more information, however, they may also forget about you entirely.

So, how is great resume writing like a vanilla chai latte? You need both the vanilla (role descriptions) and the chai (your unique accomplishments; a.k.a. the “spice”) to create a highly-effective resume.

If you need assistance with balancing the vanilla and chai within your resume, let’s chat!