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Your Resume and "So What?"
By Michael C. Dennis, MBA, CBF

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Michael Dennis 2013

A couple of years ago, I joined the Financial Executives Networking Group (FENG). Networking is often the key to finding a new position, especially when you are out of work. For me, one of the advantages of FENG membership is that I can repay in-kind the people who helped me through two layoffs. I volunteered to review resumes submitted by FENG members for peer evaluation. Some resumes are simply outstanding. Many are not. A good resume might open doors for a job candidate, but a poorly written resume will slam them shut, especially when you remember that individual resumes are normally screened by human resources in a minute or less.

So What

A friend of mine was laid off recently, and asked me to review his resume. It ignored a basic rule I now call: So-What? For example, his resume stated: “I managed a staff of 9 collectors.” So What? If his resume stated: “I managed 9 collectors and with my guidance we reduced DSO by 40% and bad debt losses by 60% within 12 months” then every potential employer would have an answer to the So What question.

Here is another example from the same resume: “I developed and ongoing dialogue with the sales management team to foster closer collaboration.” So close, but so what? His resume could have said: “I developed a collaborative working relationship with sales management resulting in an incremental increase in sales of at least $15 million a year.”

In my opinion, resumes need to be more focused on accomplishments, and far less on job responsibilities. Remember, you have one chance in about one minute to impress one resume screener enough to include your resume in the “for further review” pile. Don’t waste that chance.

In my experience, most resumes break the “so what” rule. What do you think of resumes you receive that break this rule?

Michael posts every Thursday sharing his viewpoint and personal experience on aspects of business credit, career advancement, leadership and collections through CMA, Credit Management Association. We hope you enjoy this new blog series and encourage you to comment on the posts to increase the conversation.

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