What’s the Most Important Thing on a Resume?

Every morning I go to the LinkedIn sections on resume writing and job search to answer questions posed by individuals who aren’t expert in these fields.

Yesterday, someone asked, “What is Most Important in a Resume?”

It’s Not What You Think

One commenter replied that the candidate’s phone number and email were vital.

Although it’s true that your contact information should be on your resume, most hiring managers won’t bother to look at that data if the information contained within the body of the document doesn’t interest them.

As a hiring manager, what I believe is most important is this – results.

Not tasks, not duties, not interests, not what you want (as stated in an objective) but cold, hard results from the efforts you’ve put forth at other companies.

Accomplishments Count

How else is a future employer to gauge your worth? In your resume’s opening summary, you might state that you’re an experienced professional with proven skills in X, Y and Z. The words sound great. However, they’re only words. Not proof. Worse, they’re coming from you.

Why should I, or any hiring manager, believe what you say? You could be embellishing or worse, you might be lying.

The only way to lend credence to what you claim and to ensure a hiring manager actually reads your resume is to fill it with results.

For example: You state that you reorganized the filing system at your last job. Okay – good for you. That still doesn’t tell me anything except that you actually put in some work during the day rather than playing Internet games.

Now, if you state that you reorganized the filing system, which resulted in a 55% improvement in data recovery, and it decreased time lost in searching by an equal percentage, you’re telling me something. You saved staff time and the company money because employees were able to focus on other tasks rather than looking for files.

Show Results and Your Resume Will Stand Out

If you really want a hiring manager to review your resume, pack it with quantified accomplishments. In other words, results of your duties. Begin with two in the opening summary, followed by a section called Career Accomplishments and continue in the Professional Experience section. Each time you find yourself writing ‘I did this’ ‘I did that’ – stop and think of the results of those efforts.

That’s what hiring managers are looking for.

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