Engineer Your Own Success
Engineer Your Own Success
Building a Winning Résumé
When it comes to getting a job or client, congruent value is aligning the employer's need with your value add.
-Richie Norton, Resumes Are Dead and What to Do About It 1.1 Building a Winning Résumé (Online and Offline)
People often talk about a "winning résumé." Is there really a difference between a typical résumé and one that "wins" over the mind of the prospective employer?
My definition of a winning résumé is very simple: it helps you land the job that you are applying for. To be more specific, a winning résumé is a document that helps to secure an interview. This step alone is a huge challenge, especially in a down economy or in a competitive market.
A winning résumé does not look a certain way, nor is it a certain length; it is a résumé that showcases your qualifications and ultimately results in an interview. No matter how it looks or how long it is, if you send it in and do not get an interview, it is a losing résumé-end of story.
In the following pages, I will give you a blueprint for building a winning résumé for any job that you apply for. While I will offer some guidelines as to the appearance and length of the résumé, your overall focus on the target person or company who is doing the hiring is the most important aspect of this résumé preparation process.
"Find out what you like doing best and get someone to pay you for doing it."
- Katherine Whitehorn1.2 There Is One Key Factor to a Great Résumé
As part of my job as an engineering career coach, I have had the opportunity to speak to many engineering hiring managers and industry recruiters, and I always ask them to explain to me exactly what they are looking for in a résumé. You may be surprised at what they have told me.
While the content of your résumé and your experience are critical to being hired by an engineering company, recruiters and hiring managers say that it is the visual presentation that will actually get you in the door for that all important first interview.
While the content of your résumé and your experience are critical to being hired by an engineering company, recruiters and hiring managers say that it is the visual presentation of your résumé that will actually get their attention.
There are hundreds of engineers applying for the same job these days. Recruiters and hiring managers don't have the time to look through hundreds of résumés, so instead, they scan them first. They spend about 10 seconds per résumé, identifying which ones look good enough for them to come back to for a more detailed review at a later date.
The résumés that typically make it to the second round of reviews are those that are neat and easy to read and contain some key points about the individual. They simply stand out from the rest.
There is no right or wrong way to create a résumé; the key is to make it presentable and give the reviewer some points that will create interest. When creating your résumé, keep in mind that someone may look at it for a mere 10 seconds and decide whether or not you will be interviewed.1.3 The Importance of Customizing Your Résumé
Before we get into the actual résumé preparation, I want to convey the importance of customizing your résumé for a specific desired job. Here's a true story. During one of my Engineer Your Own Success seminars, an engineering executive in the audience shared some very powerful advice with the attendees. This executive worked for a large engineering company, and one of his responsibilities was to review résumés of prospective candidates and decide which ones his company should interview.
He told us that, in one instance, while looking through a pile of résumés, a candidate mentioned one of the projects that the executive's company was working on at the ti