RezScore

 

This Is What An A+ Resume Looks Like

Hello RezScorians!

What does an A+ resume actually look like and what does it do to get an A+?

It’s a question we get all the time.

Here’s the short answer – go to www.rezscore.com and scroll down. Under “See A Demo” you’ll see a few images, and under those, links. Simply click on the “A resume” link and the file will automatically download to your computer. Here’s a shorter answer. Right click here and choose “save link as”.

Now that you’ve downloaded it, let’s talk about what makes this document an A+ resume:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cindy is off to a great start.

She’s included a link to her LinkedIn profile right at the top, she’s using a nicely balanced two-color format with borders to focus the eye, and she makes effective use of white space. Most importantly, Cindy has a Professional Headline and sub-headline in big, bold font, that instantly tells the reader what her job title is, and what she’s good at.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now we get into the meat of it.

First, I love how Cindy has dealt with a series of promotions here. Instead of listing each one and the dates she held the roles, she’s focused exclusively on her most recent role, and used bolding and underlining to make her overall tenure clear. This helps the reader understand that she’s got longevity at her company, she’s had a series of significant promotions, and has held her current leadership role for at least 2 years (and is therefore ready to go to the next level).

Second, Cindy’s first bullet provides a terrific overview of what she does while signalling that she’s good at it. The focus of the sentence is on the deeds (from “growing sales…deals”), but she provides a numeric quantifier (“triple digit growth”) and a pronoun (Paper Printer) to add meaningful context. I get a  very specific notion of who Cindy is and what she does from that first sentence.

Third, Cindy consistently structures her sentences this way. She covers the action, adds quantifying information (i.e. $2M, 12 portfolio products, magazine names) and uses an active voice. There’s a sense of “wow, she’s on her game”.

I’ve seen aliases for this section including “Major Accomplishments”, “Selected Accomplishments”, and “Milestones”. Whatever you call it, the “Key Successes”  section can be a bit of a risk because it’s using valuable resume real estate that could be used to focus on more direct day-to-day performance information.  Our research is  ambiguous on this point, but the general consensus is that a major accomplishments section can work if it’s focused, to the point, relevant to the employer, and quantifiable (there’s that word again!).

Cindy’s is terrific. She leads with an impressive dollar amount (you should try to lead with a dollar amount if you can) and immediately after, signals that she’s earned external recognition of her success. By mentioning awards earned and specifying who gave them to her, Cindy is giving a reviewer the opportunity to Google the information themselves and validate Cindy’s accomplishments.

She’s not afraid to use indentation in her formatting to create visual cues. I like that she uses indentation to indicate a list of products that she’s launched and made profitable; it provides a visual and conceptual break in the flow that forces focus. If you glanced over the page quickly, your eye would be drawn to the indentation.

Cindy is consistently quantifying her successes her using dollar amounts, time frames, client names etc. One of my favorite things she does here is that she hyperlinks to a sample of her work; creating yet another opportunity for the reader to externally validate Cindy’s claims. And she’s still using active voice.

This is a good time to point something out that you may have already noticed: this resume IS NOT PERFECT. For example, “success” and “launch” are overused here. There are also one or two awkwardly worded sentences. But this is still an A+ resume . It deserves an A+ because it’s hitting every angle an employer may care about on all cylinders. After I read this resume, I can describe what Cindy has accomplished with deep detail, I understand her work history, and I am convinced that she is great at what she does. That’s really all I need.

Moving on…

Two quick points  here.

1) Cindy numbers her pages. I’ve seen a lot of job seekers forget to do that, and while not always critical, it could end up being a big mistake if the paper version of your resume gets handed around. If there’s no indication about which page is which after it’s been printed, people can end up assuming you haven’t worked in 10 years (this happened to me a few times as a recruiter when I was printing out candidate resumes).

2) Cindy uses a full header on page 2. This is not necessarily important, but it is helpful if I decide to email her for an interview only after I get to the 2nd page, or decide I want to see her profile only after I get to the 2nd page. Never hurts to help employers.

This is Cindy’s last listed job on her resume. A few things to note:

1) I would generally recommend that you delete experiences over 20 years old. In Cindy’s case it makes sense to include this experience because it is an essential part in creating a narrative of growth. She began as a journalist in 1991, moved into sales, and has been succeeding in sales ever since. It’s a good story.

2) There are only 2 bullets. Unless whatever you did in 1993 was an awe-inspiring success, don’t go over 2 bullets for old experiences. Think of how fundamentally technology and the world have changed – whatever you did over 20 years ago is very unlikely to be relevant today…

3) Which is why Cindy’s chosen bullets are acceptable. The first focuses on setting the narrative tone mentioned above (consistent growth), and the 2nd is effective for being less specific (yes, I said it) than her most recent ones. The focus here is simply that she’s had lots of exposure to needs that are important no matter what year it is (recruiting, training, forecasting etc. are constantly required skills).

 

Lastly, we come to one of my favorite sections. Cindy really nails this. I love the layout here and the great use of white space and alternating alignment to give some visual relief. But the real trick here is Cindy’s awesome SEO skills. Her skills and tools section covers a ton of keywords that haven’t necessarily otherwise appeared in her resume but still might be search terms a recruiter or hiring manager would use (i.e. if you’re looking for someone with online sales skills, CPM is a great database keyword). She also mentions her industry networks in long form and using the acronyms; again, she’s hitting the keyword angle in all directions.

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Some final thoughts:

Most of you will have a very different resume; you may have less experience, less promotions, more experience, more promotions, more ‘job hopping’ or longer stays, shifting career paths, etc. I’ve tried to focus on universal take-aways from this resume, but if I had to distill it down to one sentence it would be this:

“Looks matter, numbers work, pronouns punch, and I love a good story”

If I had to distill it further, it would be this:

“Sell it”

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Happy job hunting and feel free to reach out to me anytime,

Sean

www.linkedin.com/in/seanweinberg

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