Human Workplace: Humanize your resume

To stand out in the job-seeking crowd, résumés should describe skills. Don’t use catch-all jargon.

There is a sea change going on in the arena that recruiters and human-resources pros call the Talent Market. Corporate and institutional America are realizing that technology doesn’t help them recruit better people into their organization. On the contrary, cumbersome and tedious applicant-screening systems (that also tend to be full of bugs) drive the best candidates away. They won’t submit to that broken recruiting process, so they opt out and either consult on their own or get jobs through headhunters and friends.

Organizations are waking up to the talent crisis. There are plenty of job-seekers on the market, but not all of them have the strategic altitude, skills and pluck that employers need. If you have a track record, and I have no doubt you do, the last way you’d want to describe that history is to say, “I have a proven track record of success.” What does that tell us? Nothing at all — it’s pure corporatespeak boilerplate.

In this Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014 photo, job seekers line up to meet prospective employers during a career fair at a hotel in Dallas. January was a second
In this Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014 photo, job seekers line up to meet prospective employers during a career fair at a hotel in Dallas. January was a second straight disappointing month for U.S. job seekers, though mainly in the government and retail sectors with the end of the holiday shopping season, according to the Labor Department, Friday, Feb. 7, 2014. Only 113,000 jobs were added in January, after an even softer 75,000 gain in December. (AP | LM Otero)

I don’t blame job-seekers for writing their résumés and LinkedIn profiles to sound like “Star Wars” battle drones, because that is the way they’ve learned to write a résumé in countless seminars and outplacement meetings. But a zombietastic résumé won’t help you in 2014. You need a human voice in your résumé now, to sound like yourself and to bring your power across to the hiring manager who’s scanning your documents.

You can use a human voice in your résumé, like this:

I majored in Mechanical Engineering and spent four years developing tools for industrial manufacturers before getting hooked on Sales. Now I help product manufacturers run their businesses more simply and safely by integrating my company’s Safety tools into their daily workflow.

We don’t need to know about your assessment of yourself — … la “I’m smart, I’m savvy, I’m seasoned.”

We have to decide for ourselves, through your résumé or your LinkedIn profile, whether we believe you are any of those things. When you simply tell your story like the former mechanical engineer in our example, then the reader can make his or her own assessment. Plus, when you use a human voice in your résumé, you allow the reader to get a feel for you as a person, rather than a faceless bundle of skills and certifications.

Here are the steps to take if you’d like to humanize your résumé:

• Think about what you want in your next job, not just what you feel “qualified” to do. Once you’ve been in the working world for 10 years, you can do a tremendous number of things, and even younger folks can apply their talents in many ways. Don’t box yourself in.

• Once you know your target role, brand yourself for that. Don’t say “I’m a results-oriented professional.” That falls completely flat for the reader. We’ve seen it a million times. Tell us who you are, distinct from every other human on the planet!

• Look for the worst examples of corporatespeak in your résumé, and get rid of them: results-oriented professional; motivated self-starter; cross-functional teams; superior communication skills; team player.

Replace these tired phrases with words that describe you, not half the people in Colorado.

You can tell your story in a résumé. If you’re planning to pitch your résumé into a corporate Black Hole recruiting portal (and I sincerely hope you are not), make sure to keep a section of your résumé available for keywords that the Darth Vader mechanism may be looking for. Otherwise, use a human voice throughout, and see if your new résumé doesn’t sound and feel a lot more like the you behind the suit!

Liz Ryan is a former Fortune 500 human-resources vice president and the CEO of Human Workplace, an online community and consulting firm focused on reinventing work and career education.

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Human Workplace: Humanize your resume
human resources – Yahoo News Search Results
human resources – Yahoo News Search Results


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