Education Career Services

January 22, 2010

Don’t Make Me Think!

Submitted by Robert Swanson,
Author, editor
Education Career Services

Steve Krug’s book on optimizing web page usability/readability titled Don’t Make Me Think has much to say to would-be résumé writers as well, though Don’t Make Me Synthesize might be a better title for such a book.

Too many résumés throw out only what the candidate has done; hoping the hiring manager will figure out what the candidate can therefore do for them.  Such a passive résumé forces the reader to synthesize, which is more work than the reader wants to do.  YOU need to be the active component, not the reader.

Hiring managers have problems and goals or they wouldn’t be hiring.  The candidate who can anticipate the employer’s needs and pre-synthesize their résumé to provide solutions wins the interview.  How is this done?  Simple.

Begin with the company’s needs you can fulfill.  Imagine I own a pizzeria and I’m looking for help.  Clearly I’d want someone with specific pizza skills, but if you can show me you have transferrable skills, I’ll want to talk to you.  You might guess I need bakery, food preparation, health/safety, and cashier skills.  If a résumé tells me you’ve worked at McDonald’s “responsible for customer service, hamburger assembly, and fryer duty” I don’t know if you were any good at it!  After all, you aren’t doing it anymore and that could imply you were fired for incompetence.

Instead, use active language, and bring solutions to the top where I’m sure to see them, and generalize to fit my needs:

  • Prepared and assembled food products in a rapid-paced environment in accordance to FDA and OSHA regulations.
  • Programmed and operated Point of Sales (POS) System during lunch and dinner rushes; recognized for consistently delivering no shortages or overages.

These two bullet points alone would make me call this person.  Familiarity with government regulations, can program a POS system, and handles cash and rushes well?  I don’t have to guess or figure out if this candidate has the skills I’m looking for, they’re placed right where I’ll see them.  By anticipating my needs, the candidate shows intelligence and forethought.

What solutions do you offer a company?

Thank you Robert, you’re always on target!  If you have any questions or comments, don’t be shy!

Danny Huffman, MA, CEIP, CPCC, CPRW
Owner, Author, Publisher
Career Services International
Education Career Services
407-206-5883 (direct line)
866-794-3337 ext 110


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