Focus Your Resume — 100 Percent — on Employer's Needs


We invited 15 of the top career and job-search experts — our Quintessential Careers Career Masterminds — to share their advice with our readers as part of Quint Careers’s 15th anniversary. We asked them (among six other questions): What are the most common strategic mistakes you see on job-seeker resumes? (See all their responses here.) We’re running a series of responses; here’s one of them: I think one common mistake is to start with the wrong focus. Most job-seekers begin the resume-writing process by thinking about themselves. They consider what they’ve done, where they’ve worked, where they want to work next, what skills they have, etc. But the most effective resumes are the ones that start from a very different place — the ones that are 100 percent focused on the needs of the employer. Consider this: we all have far too many skills, experiences, and character traits to ever include on a resume, but if we start from the point of view of the employer, it becomes easier to see what we should include and what can be omitted.

For me, the second most common mistake is to look and sound like everyone else in the mistaken belief that this is the professional thing to do. Instead, I would like to see job-seekers really think about how they can communicate their unique value proposition, not just with words but with the resume layout too. Why look just like everyone else?
      — Louise Fletcher