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95% of Resumes are Terrible

At least that’s what I was thinking not long ago, when I had the task of reviewing 100 executive resumes in a 3-day period.

Of those 100, at least 90 were (in my far-from-humble opinion!) truly terrible. A handful were mediocre. Maybe 4 or 5 were good to great.

Keep in mind, these were the resumes of senior-level executives with solid careers and distinguished credentials. I have to think that the vast majority of them really did have good stories to tell and real value to offer their next employer.

But that sure wasn’t coming through in their resumes.

My husband tells me I have very high standards, and that’s true! But I bet recruiters and employers are pretty tired of seeing bad resumes. When they find one that’s powerful, clear, relevant, and interesting, they must be overjoyed!

If you want to elate a recruiter or employer, send a resume that really tells what you did (but succinctly!) and why it was valuable to your customers, colleagues, or organization. Make it readable – keep it to 2 pages, avoid heavy blocks of text, and don’t tell every detail. Provide context so we understand your challenges and actions. Give us results, not general capabilities and characteristics.

Capture interest, and you’ll have the chance to share more in an interview. Confuse, bore, or turn off your reader, and you won’t get that chance.

It’s that simple, and that complex.

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