Do You Have A “Tombstone” Resume?

The best resumes, the ones that will get a hiring manager’s attention, are marketing documents. They are designed to sell you (the product) to a potential employer (the buyer).

They are not laundry lists of responsibilities. They are not boring employment histories. They don’t include every job you’ve ever had or every single thing you’ve done during your career.

That style of resume is sometimes called a “Tombstone” resume because it is directed towards the past, not the future.

Your future.

When you’re putting together your resume keep these 5 things in mind.

1) Your resume is a marketing tool. It’s not an employment history or a job application. While you should never lie or grossly exaggerate, you should frame the content in a way that sells you to a potential employer. Here’s why lies matter.

2) Generally, there’s no need to provide details that go back more than 10 to 15 years in your career. Employers are most interested in your current or most recent position and possibly the one before that. Think of your resume like a funnel with the space dedicated declining as the years increase.

3) Focus on the future rather than the past. This means highlighting the skills and abilities you want to use in your target position. For example, if you have a variety of marketing experience but your goal is to work in digital marketing, feature achievements that showcase your digital marketing expertise.

4) In most cases, don’t waste valuable resume space on dated professional development activities unless they are particularly important to your target position or industry. For example, an educator who has completed D.A.R.E. training will want to include that even if it was a decade ago.

5) Before you begin, have a target position. If you are considering corporate controller and tax accountant pick one. While job seekers often want to include “everything” they can do, an unfocused resume will not serve you well.

Once you are finished writing your resume evaluate it with the “so what?” factor in mind. You may have established key-performance indicators, but what difference did it make? How did it help your department and/or company? Like all of us, employers are listening to Station WIIFM. Make sure you show them.

P.S. Think your job is safe? Read why you should never get caught without an updated resume. 

Updated 4/3/18