The Headless Resume
By Tracy Laswell Williams, CPRW, President, CAREERMagic
In my business, I naturally see a lot of
resumes, written by amateurs and other professionals. Lately I've seen a rash of
resumes that seem to have lost their minds. Is your resume "headless?" If
your resume reads something like this, you may be missing a critical section.
| JOHN T. FRUGALBERRY (with that
dreaded middle initial, no less)
1122 Boogie Woogie Avenue,
Middletown, CA 94000
XYZ Company, Middletown, CA
Lead Project Engineer
This is what I do. Sometimes I also get
asked to do that and the other thing. One time, I got an award for doing this and that
with a high degree of accuracy.
San Jose, CA
When I worked here, I did a little of this
and a little of that. I got promoted a few times, and then I got recruited away.
B.S., Widget Engineering, Summa Cum Laude,
Ivy League University, San Francisco, CA
If the example above looks like your
resume, you should know that you've missed out on an excellent opportunity to sell
yourself. Why? The recruiter reading this resume must go through the entire document to
form a mental picture of you. You know, who you are, what you want to do with your career,
whether or not you'll be worth interviewing. Will she/he form an accurate picture?
Creating an opening paragraph or bullet list
with the heading "Profile" or "Summary of Qualifications" is an
excellent opportunity to present your reader with a thumbnail sketch of who you are, what
you're doing with your career, and what your most marketable attributes are.
For those of you who consider this type of
information "fluff" or "b.s.," I respectfully beg to differ. Surely,
if that's the kind of information you've seen in summary statements, then they were
misused, like the much maligned objective statement that says "a challenging
career-oriented position using my education and experience, blah, blah, blah."
The Profile or Highlights Section is the
place where you can sum up all the great information on the resume, add relevant
information that just doesn't have any other place to go on the resume, and create an
impression of you as a living, breathing, unique individual. It doesn't have to be fluff
or flowery, meaningless information. If it's done properly, it can add "sizzle"
to the steak when being read by a human being, and it contains relevant key words that
will boost the number of hits your resume gets in a database search. Most or all of what
is stated up front is backed up by the remainder of the resume. For those of you
resume buffs out there, no, this isn't a functional resume per se. Observe:
| JANET PROMOTABLE PROFILE
Telecommunications Project Manager with 10+
years of rapid advancement with Fortune 100 companies.
Consultative and clear communication style,
resulting in the development of innovative business solutions that exceed client
expectations. Articulate and persuasive presentation skills.
Outstanding knowledge of voice, data, and
networking products; demonstrated ability to coordinate contributions from
multi-disciplinary team members. Dedicated to maintaining cutting-edge technical skills.
Consistently recognized by managers,
clients, vendors, and colleagues for ability to orchestrate all details of critical
projects with a high degree of service, within tight deadlines and budgets.
Then, of course, the rest of Janet's
resume covers the detail-rich, quantifiable accomplishments in each position that back
up these statements. By introducing her in this way, however, we don't have to count on
the recruiter's ability to sum her up accurately.
So if your resume is not getting you the
attention you deserve sans profile, perhaps now would be the time to sum yourself up.
© 1999-2003 Tracy Laswell Williams. All rights reserved.
Tracy Laswell Williams is an accredited resume writer and career
consultant who works with a diverse client base nationwide. She built
her company CAREERMagic five years ago on the premise that "great
minds think differently." Visit the company website at