So What? – Michael Dennis, CBF

So What?
So What?

I recently received an email from an old friend who just completed a long-term temp assignment asking if I knew of any temp or permanent positions.  Naturally, Ann included her resume.  I reviewed that resume, and provided these comments:

  1.  A three page resume is too long
  2. The resume includes too much information in too much detail
  3. The resume is long on listing job duties, but short on describing your accomplishments

An applicant typically has less than a minute to convince the screener that their resume should be forwarded to a decision maker.  A three page resume is too long to review in 60 seconds.  Therefore, the goal is a resume of two pages or less.

The resume included information about every job since 1984. I don’t think anyone cares that she was a credit administrator for the XYZ Corporation from 1984 to 1988.  Fifteen years of employment history is usually adequate.

Ann’s resume included details such as this:  I reduced the over 90 day balance from 5.31% to 2.19% within the first 6 months.  I think this is much too detailed.  I rewrote it to read:  Within 6 months, I increased the percent current from 89% to 97% by conducting one-on-one aging account reviews & training sessions with each collector each month.

Please stop telling potential employers what your job duties are or were.  Instead, describe your accomplishments.  Here is an example from Ann’s resume: I performed reviews of the files of every active customer focusing on risk management.  My response was:  So What?   This rewrite focuses on what Ann accomplished:  By ensuring appropriate safeguards were in place, I reduced bad debts from more than $800,000 in 2011 to less than $200,000 in 2012.

Michael Dennis, MBA, CBF, LCM
Michael Dennis, MBA, CBF, LCM

So what does your resume look like?  If you want my candid [and brutally honest comments], send your resume in confidence to:

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