It’s What You Do, Not What You Say

I’m not sure why, but resumes noting an individual’s “attention to detail” frequently have a typo or grammatical error within the next few lines. Now that’s irony. Though I’m one to notice mistakes on a resume anyway, I have to confess an increased desire to look for them on resumes where candidates have noted their attention to detail as a reason I’d want to hire them. It becomes a challenge to see if the person actually delivers on what they say.

An opportunity to measure the validity of a candidate’s claims is fantastic for an employer. Employers don’t often get a chance to sort out fact from fiction when it comes to details that aren’t verifiable through references and such. Too often employers are left to take a candidate’s word or go with their gut on what a candidate actually brings to the table. When a candidate claims things that can be easily evaluated by employers, it’s gold.

For those who would appreciate some other examples of what noted skills are easy for an employer to evaluate, I’m happy to oblige.

“Great Listener” – These candidates shouldn’t need many questions repeated and are able to answer what was actually asked of them. By the way, asking for clarification is different than “what was the question again?”

“Exceptional Follow-up” – These candidates should be timely with returning phone calls, staying in touch, providing additional information an employer requests and sending the appropriate letters and thank you notes to interviewers.

“Excellent Problem Solving Skills” – Those who feel they are great at solving problems should be able to overcome any that surface in the resume/interview process. They shouldn’t have their kids waiting in the lobby of the company during an interview because daycare fell through. Their resume shouldn’t have revisions in pen because their printer isn’t working. Potential employers should never have to hear the candidate doesn’t have references because they don’t have any phone numbers or addresses anymore. There shouldn’t be any ‘poor me’ stories in the interview about how a past supervisor or subordinate made their job impossible.

“Timely” – I probably don’t have to elaborate on this one, right?

These are just some examples. Hopefully you get the idea. It’s not that it is bad to make the above claims on a resume. Be prepared to back them up with your actions. “Actions speak louder than words” may be cliche’, but it’s spot on. You are your best reference. When you yourself can’t support your claims, your job search has problems.

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