Despite 20 years in the search industry, I am still regularly amazed at the frequency of occurrence of what I believe to be THE #1 resume mistake. It’s a LULU that no doubt causes people to be overlooked by employers for jobs they could very well be a fit for. I suspect that as many of a quarter of the people that read this post will quickly realize that they need to correct for this flaw on their CV. The problem seems to be seniority-agnostic, as I see it from a wide variety of individuals.
One of the most basic requirements for any resume is to clearly communicate details about the products and/or services that each of your employer’s was selling and to what market or industry they were selling as well. If your resume does not provide this information, an employer or recruiter may be unable to accurately determine a fit to an open job. Clearly this information is crucial to evaluating your experience and capabilities.
Why people don’t feel this crucial info should be included on their resume, I will never understand. Were you selling hogs to farmers? Unless you were working for IBM or a well-known entity, do you expect us to guess what you were selling? Do you expect us to search the internet to find out what your employer sells? I can assure you, most resume reviewers don’t have time for that. What happens instead is, they shake their head in wonderment and take a pass on your resume, even though it’s possible you could be a terrific fit for them.
For each employer that you worked for, I recommend adding a separate heading line on your resume, just under the name of the company and before your job title, that details their focus. You could include details such as the company revenue, products and services sold, and market sector that they sell to (but it should be no more than two or three lines and can be as little as a single line). The format I recommend for each previous position looks like this:
Name of Employer, City and Dates Worked:
Nature of Business (absolutely essential info!!!)
(Leave a space)
Responsibilities – (brief details)
Achievements – (the meat & potatoes of your resume)
If your resume needs to be modified to address this concern, take the time to add these details for each previous employer. For current job seekers, this modified resume could be your basis for re-connecting with recruiters and prospective employers anew. Who knows, this small tidbit of advice might just lead to your uncovering a new career opportunity. You will likely avoid having your resume chucked when in fact you are a solid fit. At the very least, you’ll reduce the frustration level of countless resume reviewers, like me.