2009 – Downturn - Annual Resume Update

Questions This Guidance Answers: 
  • How should I change my resume in a downturn?
  • What should my resume include?
  • When do I need to update my resume?

This cast recommends changes to resumes based on the 2009 hiring market and beyond.

Last year, we delivered our first annual update to our resume guidance. Our purpose was to highlight that the hiring market is always changing, and resumes must be able to change with the market. Unless you meet the Neil Armstrong test and its corollary, this cast is designed to help you update your resume to make it trenchant.

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Noting Cost Reductions on Your Resume

I have no idea how to include cost reductions on my resume, and I need help figuring out how to get this information and/or coming up with proxies.

For those of you in the U.S., I work for your friendly neighborhood Federal Government. The thing is that I have no clue about budgets, as budgets are managed by people one - sometimes two - levels above me. Should I talk to those people above me about the impact of my work on their bottom line? How do I broach the subject?

I am a front-line manager, though I am currently an individual contributor due to restrictions that prevent me from filling my vacancies. In previous positions where I had staff, I made productivity improvements (noted on my CMD), and I'm sure some of my process changes impacted budgets. I just have no idea what those impacts were.

- BJ

Impact of HRIS on Resume Submissions

While I find your advice on resumes to be outstanding, I'm troubled by the lack of any mention about how Human Resources Information Systems (HRIS) handle resumes.

Most large organizations these days, and many small cap companies alike, capture resumes in a database that can be indexed and searched against keywords from the job posting.  This would imply that a longer resume with more keywords plucked from the job posting would result in more interviews.

The duality of the situation though, is that at the end of the day, people read the resume and decide whether or not to pass it to the hiring manager.

Is there a way to satisfy both sides of this dilemma, or should we ignore the technology and trust the resume will eventually get to the hiring manager through a recruiter or our own networking efforts?

Yes.. and No

You really don't need to stuff your resume with keywords in order for it to be found in a HRIS search.

I just picked a random job on Monster (http://jobview.monster.com/getjob.aspx?JobID=82502565&brd=1&re=515%2c14&...) and then did a search on the US Monster database which has millions of resumes on it based on the keywords:

Business Objects, Data Integrator, universe, quality and reporting

And I found 4 resumes. 4, that have been submitted to Monster EVER which have those keywords. Recruiters are much more likely to put in 'IT Project Manager, Business Objects' and a location, and those are terms you will have on your resume if it's a good quality resume without keyword stuffing. Even with such a loose search using Washington as a location I only have 54 resumes to choose from, and I haven't applied a time based limitation. 54 doesn't even make a minimum call list for a morning for a recruiter.

So yes, ignore the technology and ensure your resume has what you did and how well you did it, and you will get through!


Thank you!!!

A real-world example goes a long way to making the point.



Noting Cost Reductions on Your Resume


I'd suggest selecting a couple of projects you feel reduced cost, and bring one of them up during your one-on-one with your manager.  You want your manager to be in a positive, upbeat place when you ask if she thinks the project reduced costs.  Try to move the conversation into quantifying the savings. Try something like this...

"Hey, do you remember that project we finished up about this time last year?  You know, the one where we... ?"

"Do you know if the savings were ever realized?"

"That project must have reduced costs by over $100k a year, don't you think?"  (you can purposely use a low number here to galvanize a response)

Bring up cost savings in most of your one-on-one meetings.  If you've just finished a project, make sure you bring it up while it's fresh.  Your manager will come to realize this is a talking point that interests you and will naturally start to expect, and prepare, for the conversation.

BTW, did your process changes improve things so much that you are now able to perform all the work of your group by yourself?  If so, that sounds like a productivity item on your resume!  ;-)

  Good luck!