Being superman in your resume

If you’re a regular reader of this blog or you have been a client of ours, you know how keenly we feel that there’s no such thing as a generic resume—or a one-size-fits-all kind of document. Our experience reveals that such an item has an almost zero chance of obtaining for you the holy grail of a job interview.

If your resume is to be powerfully persuasive, it must speak directly to its intended reader; its effectiveness works by offering a potent answer to the following critical concern: What have been the positive results of your work performance? Put more plainly: Why do your professional accomplishments matter?

Note that:

  • It doesn’t matter if you led a global team of 50 sales professionals…if said team missed its sales goals.
  • It doesn’t matter if you designed and built a website for an F500 client…if it generated no additional site traffic or sales leads.
  • It doesn’t matter if you wrote-up 400 pages of business requirements…if no one used them.
  • It doesn’t matter if you trained new hires…if those new hires were unable to do their jobs properly.


Such doubts to your past competency might situate themselves in the minds of potential employers unless you detail to them otherwise. Here is a “before and after” example that will demonstrate the importance of emphasizing the positive in your resume:

Oversaw purchase and organization-wide training/adoption of a client-management system.

Sure, it’s impressive that you were responsible for purchasing the system and getting everyone to use it, but nothing in this bullet validates the actions you undertook.

But how about this:

Oversaw purchase and organization-wide training/adoption of a client-management system that realized 90% adoption (from among 10,000 employees) and a full return-on-investment within nine months of procurement; system resulted in a 20% increase in repeat business and a 50% increase in productivity.

This is the information your reader needs to see in order to properly evaluate your performance prowess…it shows him or her not only what you did, but how well you did it.

Job seekers tend to assume that if one inserts a rudimentary list of past tasks on a resume, the recipient will automatically fill in the blanks…in the job seeker’s favor yet. But how would the reader do that? Why should the reader do that?!

Without putting too fine a point on it, it’s better to assume that any hiring person you contact has the innocence of a five-year-old child. Make believe that you’re relating a story and that you are its hero. You wouldn’t tell the story of Superman by simply pointing out that the guy can fly and see through walls. You’d also describe the evil villains he brought to justice and the potential earth-wide catastrophes he was able to prevent. You too need to describe your past glories in jaw-dropping detail (without, of course, stretching too far from the truth).

Such a recounting will not only make your reader’s eyes light up, but will distinguish you from the hundreds of blasé resumes sent from third-tier super-heroes.