Why It’s Important to Standout From the White Paper

Standout form the crowd when getting your name out there!

Crafting an effective resume can be difficult. There’s the formatting, grammar, punctuation and, most importantly, your content. To stand out from the crowd, it’s not enough to create a laundry list of job duties. You also have to talk about the impact you made while you were in that position. Whether you’re looking for your first job, or if you’re making a mid-career transition, there are two simple questions that your resume needs to address.

What? Most job seekers have this one down cold; what you did at that job. To address the “what,” read the job description carefully and identify the most important attributes and skills the hiring company is looking for. If they list management experience #1, don’t list it as the 8th bullet under your most recent job. Also think about what not to include. If your title is customer service representative, there’s no need to list a bullet that talks about customer service unless it involves a specific situation or outcome above and beyond what could be implied from your title.

So what? Once you’ve established the “what,” you must address the “so what?” For each bullet, what were the results? What was the impact? If you presented a recommendation to upper management, was it adopted? If you developed a new process for doing business, did it save time and/or money?

Before applying to another job, read over your resume bullet by bullet to make sure you’ve answered both the “what” and “so what.” When you do, you’ll be well on your way to having a resume that gets results.

Penelope Trunk shares three ideas that guide professional resume writers and should guide you as well:

1. Don’t focus on your responsibilities, focus on what you achieved.
A resume is not your life story. No one cares. If your life story were so interesting, you’d have a book deal. The only things that should be on your resume are achievements. Anyone can do their job, but only a small percentage of the population can do their job well, wherever they go.

The best way to show that you did your job well is from achievements. The best achievement is a promotion. It is an objective way to show that you impressed the people you work for. The next best way to show objective measures is to present quantified achievements.

Most people do not think in terms of quantified achievements when they are in the job, but on the resume, that’s the only part of the job that matters. No one can see that you were a “good team player” on your resume unless you can say “established a team to solve problem x and increased sales x%” or “joined under-performing team and helped that team beat production delivery dates by three weeks.”

If you are only putting achievements on your resume, you are going to be hard-pressed to fill a whole page. That’s okay. Anything on your resume that is not an achievement is wasting space. Because you don’t know what a hiring manager will look at first—and if you have ten good achievements and three mediocre lines about your life story, the hiring manager may only read those three lines—so remove them.

2. Don’t make your resume a moral statement; it’s a marketing document.
Think about when a company announced the launch of their product. First of all, the product is not done. Second of all, it has bugs. And third, the company is probably showing photos of prototypes and the real thing will look different. All this stuff is fine. It’s accepted practice for marketing. The company will tell you that they are doing their best to get you the information you want in the way they think is best for letting you know what your consumer options are.You need to take the same approach with your resume, because a resume is a marketing document. The best marketing documents show the product in the very best light, which means using whatever most outrageous tactics possible to make you look good. As long as you are not lying, you will be fine.

Here’s an example: You join a software company that just launched a product and the product had so many problems that they had to hire someone to handle the calls. You start doing the tech support, and you work tons of overtime because the calls are so backed up. You clean up the phone queue and then you start taking long lunches because there’s not a lot to do, and then you start job hunting because the job is boring.

Here’s how you summarize this job on your resume: Assumed management responsibility for tech support and decreased call volume 20%.

How do you know 20%? Who knows? It was probably more. But you can’t quantify exactly, so err on the safe side. But if you just say “Did tech support for a software company” no one knows you did a good job.

3. Don’t give everything away in the resume.
The idea of a resume is to get someone to call you. Talk with you on the phone. Offer you an interview. So a resume is like a first date. You only show your best stuff and you don’t show it all. Some people dump everything they can think of onto their resume, but a resume is not the only chance you’ll have to sell yourself. In fact the interview is where the hard-core selling takes place. So you only put your very best achievements on the resume. Sure, there will be other questions people will want answers to, but that will make them call you. And that’s good, right?

For those of you who can’t bear to take off the twenty extra lines on your resume because you think the interviewer has to see every single thing about you right away, consider it from your audience’s point of view. Do you really want to see a movie after the preview has already given away the entire plot?

Here is a link to some resume templates that you can use now: http://www.resume-resource.com/examples.html

More Tips for Using Resume Templates or Examples

Make sure that you don’t copy statements word for word, use the statements as an idea, but a small adjustment will always help. At the same time, don’t be afraid to use the introductory phrases (example — Developed and managed team to….).

If the resume templates include blanket statements such as “solid communications skills” don’t be afraid to add your own twist. For example, you can say “solid communications skills from experience as sales representative and bank teller.”

It’s always a good idea to add a few statements under your previous work history providing statements of responsibility and highlighting achievements.

Don’t be afraid to change font size, especially if you are trying to keep it to one page. Don’t go below 11 point font for the main text and at least make the headings one size larger in bold.

You can always change margins if you start running out of room. In most word processing documents you can find margins in the page setup section.

If you do choose to modify the format of resume templates, be careful not to go too extreme. The ideal font is times new roman, but you are generally safe to go to a MS Sans serif or arial. It’s usually not a good idea to use fancy fonts, especially if you plan to distribute the document electronically.

Also, don’t use colors.. make sure to keep everything black and white. If you want to view the presentation from this event you can view it here.

2 Responses to “Why It’s Important to Standout From the White Paper”
  1. Yesenia Orozco says:

    I love this!!!
    I am going to refresh mine as soon as i get home. This was a great article that really broke down the basics and the examples really put it all into perspective.

Check out what others are saying...
  1. […] In order to stand out, a company needs to play up what makes it better than its competitors. In this job market, you’re in competition with numerous other applicants. Therefore, you need to describe for hiring managers what makes you unique. Do you have in-demand expertise? Years of experience? A proven ability to cut costs or drive revenue? Look closely at the job ad, as well as the company’s website and other materials, to see if you can get a sense of its mission, both for the open job and for the business overall. The better you can explain how your skills will help the firm achieve its mission, the better your chances of being asked to interview there. for more information creating a compeling resume you can checkout my blog on Creating a Compelling Resume here. […]

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