What most resumes I see are missing

Updated: May 10

In my recruitment career, I've read and reviewed thousands of CVs/resumes and over 80% of them are missing the exact same thing:


Here is a resume snippet from someone who has 15 years of experience in Marketing, including several years in digital marketing:

CV #1

  • Responsible for print, catalog, web and direct marketing campaigns

  • Managed market launches and researched new product possibilities

  • Designed and executed email campaigns

  • Worked with creative agencies to design briefs

What does this CV tell you? Absolutely nothing! I have no idea if this person is any good at the job and what their level of experience is. No idea if they have worked for 2 years or 15 years.

Let's take a look at this example:

CV #2

  • Developed and launched integrated, multi-channel print, catalog, web and direct marketing campaigns that propelled sales from $3.2M (2014) to a projected $15.5M by 2019 year-end

  • Led market launch of 21 products. Identified opportunities, researched new product possibilities, collaborated with engineering team and created campaigns generating $4.6M in new annual sales

  • Partnered with seven product groups to design and execute targeted email campaigns sent to 8 million subscribers. Achieved a 12% sales increase on $226 million and reached a market share goal of 23%, up from 21.9%

  • Collaboratively design creative briefs for 14% less cost with the outside agency and internal product group, while generating a 16% increase in CTR for campaigns

Who would you hire?

Guess what, this CV/resume actually belongs to the same person. However, the first resume looks like thousands of others and doesn’t include any details about performance. That’s why this particular client wasn’t getting any interviews until they’ve created an achievement-driven resume.

What can you learn from this? Here are some tips to help you improve your resume:

Use evidence and concrete examples to back up your statements

Let’s suppose you’re an internal auditor who’s implemented new payroll and tax accounting systems that will save your company $200k in staff costs over the next three years. It is a result driven example that demonstrates you are being innovative or good at problem solving.

Perhaps you’re an admin assistant and you’ve managed switchboard with eight incoming lines, routing an average of 300 calls per day. You immediately sound more impressive than a candidate who simply says they have great organisational skills.

I see lots of resumes of people who are “results-driven.” I’d suggest adding some information that actually PROVES your drive for results. In what ways has your performance outpaced that of your peers? Perhaps you’ve earned three promotions in 18 months. If so, put that information on your resume.

Use numbers

Numbers are great for demonstrating your skills and expertise. Did you increase revenue, saved time, or money? How many events did you organise? How many clients did you deal with every month?

Another clichéd quote I see on resumes is “proven success” or “proven track record.” Again, unless you prove it, I wouldn’t bother with such phrases. If you’ve exceeded quota every year for the past three years or finished all projects under budget, then mention that.

These tangible achievements will help a hiring person understand the scope of your work and the reasons behind your career progression.

To summarise, remove all redundant phrases from your resume and LinkedIn profile.

Provide specific details of your achievements and watch your interview invites go up!

Margaret has helped thousands of job seekers worldwide to get hired or promoted. She has worked with clients at all career levels - from new graduates to executive level, in private and public sector. Margaret's clients have landed roles at top Fortune 100 and 500 companies across several continents.

If you want to learn how to tailor your resume to specific roles and how to land more job interviews and offers even in a competitive job market, check out Margaret's "Get the job you want" online course.

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