Resumes and Cover Letters

Resume Mistakes: 3 Ways You’re Burying the Lead

resume mistake bury lead

When it comes to writing news stories, reporters and journalists refer to the “lead” as the first few lines that tell the reader what the story is about.

From the very beginning they are taught to “never bury the lead” and know that doing so is a sure-fire way to lose interest. To hook the reader, the lead must be powerful.

There are three areas where leads get buried in resumes and LinkedIn profiles. Uncovering them and transforming them into hooks gives the reader a quick sense for what your story is about and hooks them into reading further when they have more time.

  1. Branding Paragraph

This section all too often gets omitted, or filled with a flurry of adjectives that may describe you, but also the competition.

To make sure your lead doesn’t get buried, refer to job qualifications to include phrasing that aligns with the requirements listed, and weave in details unique to you.

Here’s an example:

Buried Lead:

Accomplished and effective Technology Executive with 18 years of experience

Lead That Hooks the Reader:

Leads $15M complex, global technology programs that support 10% YOY revenue growth.

  1. Experience Section

All too often, job experiences lead with an overview phrase followed by a series of responsibilities and possibly an achievement or two.

Avoid burying the lead by flipping this formula – lead with a wow-worthy achievement so the first thing the reader sees is something powerful and impactful.

Buried Lead:

Lead group of contractors that deliver on several strategic initiatives related to our Finance capabilities. $10M budget.

Lead That Hooks the Reader:

Reduced build times 45% by spearheading first data management strategy with $45M projected benefits. Led 95-Member global distributed team across two facilities; $10M budget management.

  1. Job Bullets

Burying the lead when outlining what you did in each role occurs when the most important part of each achievement appears at the end of the sentence.

Front-loading, or placing the most impactful phrasing at the beginning, compels the reader to read the entire bullet or, if they are in a huge hurry, at the very least ensures the most critical part of the bullet got read before moving on.

Buried Lead:

Designed processes to reduce run times by over 35%.

Lead That Hooks the Reader:

Reduced run times >35% by designing processes that moved data through High Performance Grid Computing Infrastructure.

Take a Cue From Those Who Write the News. Journalists know it – now you do too – NEVER bury a lead.

Placing critical information front and center (or in this case at the top and left) gives your story its best shot at being read!

Also read: How To Write Your Resume When the Reader Has a 4-Second Attention Span

About the Author

Virginia Franco, NCRW, CPRW is the founder of Virginia Franco Resumes which offers customized executive resume and LinkedIn profile writing services for the 21st century job seeker.