employer descriptionsGary emailed me his resume, and we sat down to discuss it. I asked him, “why do you want your resume to describe your employer?”

“Shouldn’t it” he asked. “If recruiters don’t understand what my employer does, how will they understand my role?”

Should Your Resume Include Descriptions of Your Employer?

Recruiters are less interested in the what the companies you work for do than they are in the work you did for them.  Your resume is your digital marketing tool; by describing – however briefly – what your employer does, you switch your marketing focus from where it ought to be – on YOU – to your employer. And you are not responsible for your employer’s marketing efforts, at least not on your resume!

When your career history is studded with well-known corporate names, there’s no point in explaining what the company because everyone knows; do you actually need to explain British Petroleum or Amazon? But what about the millions of us who work for little-known businesses? Some of you might argue that in such cases, a brief mention of what the business does is in order. But why?

While it is important to provide an overview of your role within each company, recruiters and future employers are far more interested in what you’ve accomplished in those roles. You don’t want your resume to describe your employer; instead it should clearly articulate not only who you are and what you do, but how well you’ve done what you do. The takeaway is that employer descriptions don’t belong on your resume.

How to change the focus of your resume back to you

When I asked Gary to provide me a list of specific accomplishments, this is what he sent me:

Some key points that differentiate me from the pack is my ability to think outside the box. I also make a connection with every client. No client is too small or large. I am very receptive and responsive to my clients. I strongly believe in building relationships with clients. “

Is it any wonder that Gary’s original resume was all about his employer? Because clearly, what Gary understood as points of differentiation are really just givens that should be true of everyone, in every industry. Once I talked him through what some specific accomplishments could be featured on his resume, Gary had no trouble recalling the time that he retained a key account by proactively identifying unnecessary spends in their budget. Or when he convinced his manager to adopt what appeared to be an enhancement without significant ROI, but within 6 months actually boosted revenue.

Gary’s new resume is all about Gary. The recruiter, HR professional or hiring manager who clicks on it will learn how Gary has been successful at his job and to what extent because we included quantifiable information, where appropriate. The recruiter, et al will not be bogged down or distracted by extraneous detail, such as the employer’s location, stock exchange symbol, or market cap.

But whoever reads Gary’s resume will understand why they want to get Gary on the phone, pronto.

And if you have a career story to tell – one that’s about YOU – I’m happy to recommend Sarah Elkins. She’s an absolute genius at interview preparation.

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