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Does My Resume Stink? 
By Alesia Benedict

Does My Resume Stink? 
By Alesia Benedict
In a perfect world, all recruiters and hiring directors would read the resume in logical order, from top to bottom. But from my experience as a career expert, my discussions with both recruiters and hiring managers, and my own, prior experience as an executive recruiter, I know that the "logical" viewing of a resume just doesn't happen.
Instead, the reader's eyes are drawn to different areas of the page for various reasons. So, ensuring that what you want read is indeed read, is no small task. Hence, the key to a really good resume is two-fold: 1) placing strong content within the resume and 2) formatting the resume properly so that the sections you want to sizzle are actually read. Sounds simple, but since recruiters and hiring managers only spend about 15-30 seconds actually reading the resume, it's not as easy as it sounds.

And now, on to this month's before and after (See Example Following which has been highlighted for the changes - deletions in old version, additions in the new version):  

Focus Your Introduction
Our job seeker has a great deal of experience and impressive accomplishments in his career history, but these selling points were lost in the formatting of his  HYPERLINK "http://cdn.theladders.net/static/pdf/AB_Stink%20Before_Jan%2008.pdf" \o "http://cdn.theladders.net/static/pdf/AB_Stink%20Before_Jan%2008.pdf" original resume. It was lacking key strategies, which consequently resulted in his strongest information being hidden from the reader. In his  HYPERLINK "http://cdn.theladders.net/static/pdf/AB_Stink%20After_Jan%2008.pdf" \o "http://cdn.theladders.net/static/pdf/AB_Stink%20After_Jan%2008.pdf" new resume I reworded and reformatted the majority of the information to build a more effective marketing document.

Example:  Before - Obviously not great - I have pasted in the changed provisions from the revised resume - deletions in the original / significantly revised wording in the improved version
NAME
Contact Info
SUMMARY OF QUALIFICATIONS
Experienced senior executive with 25+ years of experience, including CEO responsibility for a Midwest-based specialty industrial manufacturer. Extensive experience planning sales and marketing strategy, new product development initiatives, and distribution and regional sales networks. Deeply familiar with developing sales initiatives, new territories, and sales teams, and managing national accounts. Background in hydraulic engineering, large-scale commercial irrigation, and specialized equipment applications for agriculture. Top earner. Superb sales ability. High mechanical aptitude.
Changed to:
EXECUTIVE-LEVEL MANAGEMENT:
Sales & Marketing, Business Development, Customer Relationship Management,
Pragmatic leader, strategic planner, and regional sales synergist with more than 15 years of combined experience impacting the visibility, profitability, and performance of diverse organizations through expert orchestration of revenue development, sales optimization, and resource management. Proven ability to recognize and capitalize on market trends and impact bottom-line through strategic planning, trend analysis and forecasting.

Pile-On the Keywords
A masterful use of keywords is critical in today's job search.  This section is designed to keep the reader interested and informed on the many core competencies that he's prepared to bring to the table in his new position.  This quick list (may be used to) provides the reader with a map of (ones) professional background in a reverse-chronological format.
Position Yourself from the Top
I started at the very beginning with our job seeker's career summary. Immediately, I noticed it needed strong keywords to grab the attention of the reader and had to be refocused to hold that attention. So, I created a positioning statement at the very top of the page addressing his professional level and areas of expertise in order to position him correctly in the mind of the reader rather than forcing the reader to "connect the dots" on their own.
Now that we had his positioning statement focusing his resume, I moved onto the rest of his summary, which is used to support this statement and further focus the document. I described his abilities and then developed a noun-based core competencies section. This section is used to snag hits when recruiters search resume databases for keywords in his resume. It also gives recruiters a more rounded picture of his background.


Key Word Section Added:


Supplier Agreements
  • Strategic Contract Negotiation Product Development & Design
Brand Development
  • International / Global Business Development Revenue Channel Management Strategic Partnership Development CRM & Client Retention Solutions Sales & Implementations Account Management Million-Dollar Budget Management Market Analysis, Penetration, Assessment Emerging Industry Penetration


Display Professional Progression
Moving onto the body of the resume, I noticed a glaring error in his Professional Experience section - he had treated each position with the same employer individually, naming the employer each time he listed a new position.
For a reader skimming the document, he or she gets the impression that our job seeker has worked for many different companies. However, he actually had a strong progression within one company spanning over fifteen years. This progression was not standing out using this method of organization. In order to make his career development shine, I placed all of these positions under one company headline.
Separate to Define Achievements
The job descriptions themselves had his accomplishments and achievements intermixed with his daily tasks, rather than separating them to draw emphasis to his successes. Our job seeker works in sales, so he has a strong track record of successes that should stand out. But by having everything in bullets, his hard-earned success was actually hiding among his everyday duties.
I extracted his duties and placed them in paragraph-format job descriptions. I then bulleted just his achievements so they would stand out. This tactic makes his resume much more readable and provides a stronger impact immediately.
Activate and Empower Your Words
Passive voice weakened his old resume. For example, he began many sentences with the phrase "Responsible for" which doesn't give his reader very much information. I revamped all content using strong, active voice with powerful, aggressive verbs such as "triggered" and "propelled" to create a more active and interesting document.
Beware of Bulleting
Using too many bullets actually hides accolades and makes the resume difficult to read. To fix this confusing arrangement, I reserved the bulleted format for just highlights/contributions and used a different layout for the more general, overall job descriptions. This simple step immediately made the bulleted section stand out, thus drawing the reader's eyes to the critical information -- exactly what we're trying to achieve!
Win with Final Touches
As a final touch, I cleaned up the overall formatting of the document. His original document used Times New Roman font, which can be difficult to read. I changed the font to a clean Arial, increased the font size to make it more visible, and used bolding and section dividers to provide structure.  In current polls, Arial is often named the preferred font, as readers find it easy on the eyes.
All of these changes result in a much cleaner, sharp, visual appeal sure to attract and keep the attention of recruiters and hiring managers reviewing his resume.  A "reader friendly" document goes a long way in gaining more face-time with a recruiter.

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE
President & CEO 2005 to 2007
COMPANY NAME., Havana, IL
Overall leadership and P&L responsibility for privately held Midwest-based manufacturer of commercial irrigation equipment and other specialized applications for agriculture.
Oversaw operational, financial, product development, and sales divisions.
Restructured sales approach to ensure improved top-line revenue growth to $15+ million from $10+ million.
Restructured organization and processes to lower fixed and variable costs, accelerate retirement of long-term debt, and boost profits.
Spearheaded transition of inventory management and equipment manufacturing to FIFO model and JIT manufacturing processes, to lower carried inventory and reduce running costs.
Developed new product, the Avi-FoamGuard, based on existing proprietary technology, designed to protect human health while sanitizing poultry facilities in the event of avian influenza.
Interfaced with key figures in government, fire- and health safety, academic research, and commercial growers in complex, two-year product development initiative for Avi-FoamGuard.
Implemented head-count reductions and leveraged enterprise technology to right-size IT, finance, AP/AR.
Participated in ongoing management at the Board of Directors level.

Changed to:


COMPANY NAME, Havana, Illinois
  • 1991-2007
A manufacturer of commercial irrigation equipment and other specialized applications for agriculture.
President / CEO (2005-2007)
Chief leadership and executive leadership of operations, finances, sales/marketing, business development, and strategic planning. Progressed through positions of increased authority due to excellence in product development, as well as, cost control, and regional/national sales. Oversaw operational, financial, product development, and sales divisions. Facilitated strategic planning and trend forecasting at board of directors meetings. Led revenue management and long-term business growth. Collaborated and liaised with key business and government leaders to direct long-term product development projects from inception to launch. Benchmarked and leveraged enterprise technology to right-size IT, finance, as well as, AP/AR.
Key Accomplishments:
Triggered revenues in excesses of $15M, a $5M growth by restructuring sales processes.
Championed the reengineering of costing to reduce long-term debt and bolster profitability.
Propelled the seamless transition of inventory from (whoops - messed up s/b changed to, not from) FIFO (First-In-First-Out) and JIT processes.
Conceptualized and launched ‘Avi-FoamGuard' a product to sanitize poultry facilities.
Strategically devised and led resource re-allocations and reductions to revamp productivity. (Note that resume avoids mention of down-sizing)
National Sales Manager 2000 to 2005
Kifco/Ag-Rain, Inc., Havana, IL
Responsible for strategic planning, national sales, national account management, territory development, and top-line profits for leading provider of commercial and agricultural irrigation systems. Reported directly to President & CEO.
Top-producing national sales manager, responsible for $12+ million annually
Oversaw five regional sales managers across the U.S. and in the Caribbean, Mexican, and other overseas markets.
Served a wide-ranging geography and managed a range of commercial customers, including agricultural, commercial, sports-field, and recreational facilities buyers.
Led and managed national sales initiatives, strategic planning, dealer relationships and account management, sales team training and motivational programs, including incentive programs and pricing.
Consistently successful in developing new territories, introducing new products and managing sales with national accounts.
Managed customer service, parts and shipping departments.

Changed to:

National Sales Manager (2000-2005)
Spearheaded and directed regional/territorial management, overseeing national account management, territory development, business development. Reporting to the President & CEO, identified new and emerging markets, coordinated resources, and propelled profitability. Managed programs, products, and shipping/inventory logistics. Served clients in diverse fields and industries, including: agricultural, commercial, sports-field, and recreational facilities. Instituted and aligned sales training/development programs. Reviewed and assessed customer service practices and best practices.
Key Accomplishments:
Ranked as top producing national sales manager, generating $12M+ in annual sales.
Directed 5 regional sales managers country-wide, including: U.S., Caribbean, Mexico etc.
Served a wide-ranging geography and managed a range of commercial customers, including. (messed this up in re-do, either left out list or should have left out "including")
Launched and elevated sales programs to boost revenues and employee performance.
Propelled visibility and profitability of product evolution through creative strategy development.




Regional Sales Manager - Eastern U.S./Puerto Rico 1991 to 2000
Kifco/Ag-Rain, Inc., Havana, IL
Recruited directly by executive team at Kifco to reestablish market presence in a territory long neglected and occupied by competitors' equipment. Ranked first in sales out of five regional sales managers every year for nine years.
Assumed management responsibility for the entire East Coast, including Puerto Rico, a territory without sales representation for more than ten years.
Developed a complete sales and marketing plan for the sale of Kifco's hard-hose "travelers," PTO pumps, and related equipment accessories, maintenance, and service.
Reintroduced Kifco/Ag-Rain's products throughout the region, emphasizing new account development and further penetration into existing accounts, building sales revenues from less than $500,000 to over $4 million.
Consistently met all corporate sales objectives, despite stiff market competition and poor weather-related performance of the agriculture industry at large.
Spearheaded development of new applications for existing products, including slurry pumps for the livestock industry, securing an exclusive four-year sales contract with hog-raising industry-an industry first.
Responsible for bottom-line revenue performance of the region with sole responsibility for sales calls, presentations, pricing negotiations, closing, overseeing service training, and monitoring warranty policies.
Developed market share in specialized agriculture industry, and initiated development of turf industry customers, including sports fields, polo clubs, and the parks and recreational sector.
Developed distributor network, including managing on-site inventory of systems and equipment for dealers.
Reviewed and rationalized territories and trained dealers to develop sales within their territory.

Changed to:

Regional Sales Manager (1991-2000)
Served the Eastern U.S. and Puerto Rico market, managing sales team recruitment, strategic planning, business development, and account management. Devised and integrated revenue management programs, market penetration strategies, and product development processes. Elevated the development of new applications for products, serving the livestock industry. Monitored and evaluated warranty policies and programs. Negotiated and secured contracts. Delivered specialist skills in market expansion, as well as, planning and executing campaigns for branding and sales process. (Much of this pulled from previous bullets)
Key Accomplishments:
Negotiated and secured an exclusive 4-year sales contract in the farming/livestock industry.
Conceived and launched a comprehensive sales and marketing plan for new markets.
Propelled sales revenue from $500K to $4M by realigning and engineering sales performance.




Keep Info Recent and Relevant
Once I reformatted his Professional Experience section, it was time to delve into the detail of each job listed. I saw that his work history extended all the way back to 1981 - more than 25 years in the past, much too far for a resume. By listing too much detailed information from the distant past, he was dating himself to potential employers.
Instead of expanding on earlier roles, I included a brief "Career Note" to give the reader a glimpse into older positions.   I left only the experience with his most recent employer and briefly mentioned the earlier work, omitting the corresponding dates.
More recent accomplishments and positions are more significant to the reader, and so I chose to expand on those positions only, instead of pushing the resume to 3 pages, which should only be done if absolutely necessary.

The following information about previous work experience was shortened to the following simplified single paragraph:

Changed to:

** ** **
Career Note: Additional experience as Regional Sales Manager, Eastern US for Hydro Systems Co., Cincinnati, Ohio, growing sales from $400K to $1.7M. Also worked as General Manager for Atlantic State Sales & Service, Inc.

Originally:

Regional Sales Manager - Eastern U.S. 1982 to 1990
Hydro Systems Co., Cincinnati, Ohio
Recruited by executive team to establish a distribution network in the northeastern U.S. Built sales revenue from less than $400,000 to over $1.7 million in specialized market.
Built top-producing distribution network in a 14-state region in northeastern U.S. for the sale of pressure washers and related accessories. Built regional sales from start-up to over $800,000 within 18 months.
Developed/expanded relationships with key national accounts, including Colgate Palmolive, Lever Brothers and Butcher's Polish, and managing those account relationships.
Established 32 new distributors, qualifying dealers and distributors and conducting product training.
Following major reorganization and shift in product line focus, assumed responsibility for managing company sales/marketing programs in a 19-state territory and Canada.
Responsible for the entire sales region, including strategic planning, developing, and managing sales operations to support the introduction of peristaltic pumps for specialized systems, chemical proportioners, pressure washers and accessories.
Held significant decision-making responsibility for operations, pricing and account service management.

General Manager 1981 to 1982
Atlantic State Sales & Service, Inc., Red Bank, New Jersey
Selected to direct start-up and subsequent management of first-ever company office for this subsidiary of Scoles Systems, a provider of commercial cleaning equipment, building office to $400,000+ in sales in first year.
Responsible for entire organization, including P&L, sales, administration of daily operations, staffing, customer/account development, maintenance/repair scheduling, general accounting, revenue and expense forecasting, and month-end performance reporting.
Responsible for the sale of both equipment and full-service maintenance contracts.
Established major account relationships with leading industrial manufacturers, municipalities, schools, and health care facilities.



EDUCATION
UNIVERSITY OF TENNESSEE, Knoxville, Tennessee
POTOMAC STATE COLLEGE, Keyser, West Virginia, Business Administration, Sales/Marketing
references available on request -


Changed to:

EDUCATION & CREDENTIALS
Business Administration, Sales and Marketing Coursework
University Of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee
Potomac State College, Keyser, West Virginia




HYPERLINK "http://www.FinanceLadder.com/ResumeWriters/alesiabenedict?et_id=373958332&sign=y" \o "http://www.financeladder.com/ResumeWriters/alesiabenedict?et_id=373958332&sign=y" Alesia Benedict, CPRW, JCTC, is the Executive Director of  HYPERLINK "http://www.FinanceLadder.com/mycoach?et_id=373958332&sign=y" \o "http://www.financeladder.com/mycoach?et_id=373958332&sign=y" GetInterviews.com. She's also been cited by Jist Publications as one of the "best resume writers in North America,"

Example:  After - Obviously better
Address, City, State
Email, Phone
EXECUTIVE-LEVEL MANAGEMENT:
Sales & Marketing, Business Development, Customer Relationship Management,
Pragmatic leader, strategic planner, and regional sales synergist with more than 15 years of combined experience impacting the visibility, profitability, and performance of diverse organizations through expert orchestration of revenue development, sales optimization, and resource management. Proven ability to recognize and capitalize on market trends and impact bottom-line through strategic planning, trend analysis and forecasting.
Top million dollar sales generator; triggered revenues in excesses of $15M, a $5M growth.
Expertise in regional/territory development and market penetration. Reputation for strong work ethic, approachability and consistent commitment to team leadership and innovation.

Supplier Agreements
  • Strategic Contract Negotiation Product Development & Design
Brand Development
  • International / Global Business Development Revenue Channel Management Strategic Partnership Development CRM & Client Retention Solutions Sales & Implementations Account Management Million-Dollar Budget Management Market Analysis, Penetration, Assessment Emerging Industry Penetration

PROFESSIONAL EXPERIENCE
COMPANY NANE, Havana, Illinois
  • 1991-2007
A manufacturer of commercial irrigation equipment and other specialized applications for agriculture.
President / CEO (2005-2007)
Chief leadership and executive leadership of operations, finances, sales/marketing, business development, and strategic planning. Progressed through positions of increased authority due to excellence in product development, as well as, cost control, and regional/national sales. Oversaw operational, financial, product development, and sales divisions. Facilitated strategic planning and trend forecasting at board of directors meetings. Led revenue management and long-term business growth. Collaborated and liaised with key business and government leaders to direct long-term product development projects from inception to launch. Benchmarked and leveraged enterprise technology to right-size IT, finance, as well as, AP/AR.
Key Accomplishments:
Triggered revenues in excesses of $15M, a $5M growth by restructuring sales processes.
Championed the reengineering of costing to reduce long-term debt and bolster profitability.
Propelled the seamless transition of inventory from FIFO (First-In-First-Out) and JIT processes.
Conceptualized and launched ‘Avi-FoamGuard' a product to sanitize poultry facilities.
Strategically devised and led resource re-allocations and reductions to revamp productivity.

National Sales Manager (2000-2005)
Spearheaded and directed regional/territorial management, overseeing national account management, territory development, business development. Reporting to the President & CEO, identified new and emerging markets, coordinated resources, and propelled profitability. Managed programs, products, and shipping/inventory logistics. Served clients in diverse fields and industries, including: agricultural, commercial, sports-field, and recreational facilities. Instituted and aligned sales training/development programs. Reviewed and assessed customer service practices and best practices.
contd...
NAME
  • Page 2 email.com
Key Accomplishments:
Ranked as top producing national sales manager, generating $12M+ in annual sales.
Directed 5 regional sales managers country-wide, including: U.S., Caribbean, Mexico etc.
Served a wide-ranging geography and managed a range of commercial customers, including.
Launched and elevated sales programs to boost revenues and employee performance.
Propelled visibility and profitability of product evolution through creative strategy development.

Regional Sales Manager (1991-2000)
Served the Eastern U.S. and Puerto Rico market, managing sales team recruitment, strategic planning, business development, and account management. Devised and integrated revenue management programs, market penetration strategies, and product development processes. Elevated the development of new applications for products, serving the livestock industry. Monitored and evaluated warranty policies and programs. Negotiated and secured contracts. Delivered specialist skills in market expansion, as well as, planning and executing campaigns for branding and sales process.
Key Accomplishments:
Negotiated and secured an exclusive 4-year sales contract in the farming/livestock industry.
Conceived and launched a comprehensive sales and marketing plan for new markets.
Propelled sales revenue from $500K to $4M by realigning and engineering sales performance.

** ** **
Career Note: Additional experience as Regional Sales Manager, Eastern US for Hydro Systems Co., Cincinnati, Ohio, growing sales from $400K to $1.7M. Also worked as General Manager for Atlantic State Sales & Service, Inc.
EDUCATION & CREDENTIALS
Business Administration, Sales and Marketing Coursework
University Of Tennessee, Knoxville, Tennessee
Potomac State College, Keyser, West Virginia