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Would Your Resume Hold Up In Court?


Anytime you submit your resume to a job, it immediately goes on trial, and you can’t take the stand to defend it.

Kind of a silly analogy, right? But there is a certain truth to it. You no longer have any control of how it is read or interpreted. It is left to the ‘court’ to decide if your resume truly exemplifies who you are, what you’ve accomplished, and what you can accomplish. And if you don’t make a convincing case with your resume, then the reader is likely to have objections.

In a recent online class, Resume Writer, Staci Collins made that point. She emphasized that often, resumes are submitted with “claims (that) beg for proof.”

Here are examples of common statements made on resumes that beg for proof.

Trusted adviser on employee relations matters, exhibiting good judgment and empathy.

Objection! While this job summary makes a claim (which we would very much like to believe about you), there is no evidence of your impact on the job.

Do the words “Results-driven professional” ring any bells? Almost every resume has these kinds of statements, or an example similar to the one above. The problem with these is that they need to be contextualized into a story that shows results. Otherwise, they are claims that consume real-estate on your resume. “De-contextualized responsibilities” as Collins describe them, are “nice, but there’s no meat to interact with their engagement.”

Instead, create an alibi (read: PAR Story)! Here is an example of a summary that does the trick:

Reversed 5 consecutive years of business losses within 9 months of hire by aligning sales and marketing teams.

A successful Director of Finance and Operations with over 10 years of proven track record of revitalization, growth, and profitability. Known for building top-performing organizations on a foundation of operational excellence and dynamic sales in London, Tokyo and New York.

Objection! Is there any public record or evidence of you being “Known for building top-performing organizations?”

If you have a solid reputation in your industry, or are going to claim that you are a subject matter expert – don’t hide the proof! It is safe to include media mentions in your resume. If you have a well-read blog that people rely on as a resource – share it!

You may even experiment with hyperlinking your media mentions – given that everybody is reading resumes on computer these days.

Create and maintain project plans in MSProject Enterprise Server for all existing projects (25 currently) representing $60M in annual revenue.”

Objection! While it is impressive that your duties represent $60M in annual revenue, how does that fit into the overall scope of the organization?

Granted – this is a pretty strong line. While it is not lacking in context as previous examples, you can go deeper to show the true impact. Collins recommends showing movement in statements like these: “was it $60M when you started…what were your targets?” Show movement in this section by demonstrating how you moved the needle, if you were able to accomplish these results ahead of schedule or under budget.

If you would like a one-on-one discussion about how Ivy Exec can help you create eye-catching stories in your resume’s executive summary, job summary, and bullet points, click here to set up a free consultation with Nii Ato Bentsi-Enchill, Manager of Coaching and Resume Services.

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