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专栏 - 向Anne提问

高管简历五大常见错误

Anne Fisher 2011年06月08日

Anne Fisher为《财富》杂志《向Anne提问》的专栏作者,这个职场专栏始于1996年,帮助读者适应经济的兴衰起落、行业转换,以及工作中面临的各种困惑。
如果你已经很久没有更新自己的简历了,那么,招聘人员和雇主们对简历要求的变化或许会令你大吃一惊。

    亲爱的安妮:在我27年的职业生涯中,我一直都是通过晋升或猎头公司获得新工作,他们非常了解我过往的业绩记录,因此不需要我的正式简历。但是现在,我正在找工作,想要撰写一份新简历。可其中的一些问题让我非常困惑。

    首先,在我当前的职位中(有时候我会负责招聘初级经理),我看到许多简历的开头都写着“目标宣言”,通常是说明这个人想要获得的职位。但这些几乎都是在说大话。我的简历中,是不是也应该包括这一项呢?第二,我是否需要把我近三十年的工作经历,都压缩在一页纸上?第三,自荐信是否有必要,或者,我只需要让简历来说明一切?——准备起飞

    亲爱的准备起飞:难怪你会感到困惑。因为,在准备必胜的简历时,并没有一个万能的模板。而且,时尚和潮流总是来来去去,变化不定。

    比如,你看到的那些“目标宣言”,多年以来都备受一些专业简历写手和培训师的推崇——直到招聘人员和招聘经理们开始嘲笑它们一文不值。所以,现在,你在写自己的简历时,最好以简洁的“概要”作为开头。长度以阅读时间不超过一分钟为宜。

    而关于你提出的自荐信的问题,在当前的经济形势下,这些材料好像已经失去了原有的作用,因为根本没有人有时间看。实际上,即便你的简历本身,也最多能让招聘人员粗略地看上一眼而已。

    比如:为了完成即将出版的新书《无敌简历:美国顶级人事经理解密招聘内幕》 (Unbeatable Resumes: America's Top Recruiter Reveals What Really Gets You Hired),达拉斯经验丰富的猎头汤尼•贝什拉调查了3,000位招聘经理和人力资源主管。超过四分之三(77%)的受访者承认,他们读每份简历的时间不会超过5分钟;56%的人表示,他们看每份简历的时间,不到60秒。

    所以,自荐信通常会被丢到了一旁,也就不足为奇了:86%的受访者表示,自荐信“一点都不重要”。明白了这一点,你的简历就应该清晰、快速地展示出你是谁,你能为这家公司带来什么。

    波士顿高管培训公司埃塞克斯事务所(Essex Partners)的合作伙伴霍华德•塞德尔表示:“‘个人品牌’——即你的独特之处和令人满意的地方——如今几乎是陈词滥调了。但是,你的简历依然需要直截了当地将这部分内容表达出来。然而,大部分简历并没有做到这一点。”

    原因何在?塞德尔指出了高管在撰写简历时,通常会犯的五个错误:

    1. 以“目标宣言”作为开头。正如你提到的,这些段落描述了求职者想象自己将要从事的工作,通常没有包含任何有用的信息。

    相反,塞德尔建议以“概要”作为开头,简要总结截止到目前,你的主要职业成就。他说:“可以使用一些符号,突出个人的特殊技能。”如果处理得好,就能激发阅读者的兴趣,进而确保他或她会继续读下去。

    2. 试图满足所有雇主的所有要求。塞德尔发现:“高级经理人通常拥有各方面的丰富经验,所以,他们有时候很难清楚地表明哪些职位是适合自己的。但是,招聘人员却非常注重按类别来划分。他们的工作就是为每一个岗位找到最适合的人员。如果你试图说明,自己对所有事情都很擅长,那么结果很可能是,你什么也没有表达清楚。”

    解决方案:简历只需突出一两份最重要的工作。其他相关的技能和成就,可以等到与面试官面谈的时候再谈。

    3.措辞过于模糊。塞德尔认为:“写简历时,最常见的一个错误是,简历基本上都是工作职务的列表,下面是‘岗位职责’——负责这个,负责那个。问题在于,许多职位并不很常见。在你任职位的公司以外,或许别人并不明白它的意义。而且‘岗位职责’也不够明确。”

    塞德尔建议,用实打实的经济数据,或者至少用百分比来展示你的成就,比如:“你将销售额增加了X,你将成本降低了Y,你花费多少资金提高了效率等。你需要将自己的成就表达得一清二楚”——然后,在此基础上进行引申,你能为未来的雇主带来哪些具体的成果。

    4. 把所有内容挤在一页纸上。人们普遍认为简历应该限制在一张纸以内。但与此相反,汤尼•贝什拉对雇主的调查却发现,95%的雇主会阅读,或者至少浏览一份两页纸的简历。(在某些领域,包括医疗、信息技术和学术界等,即使3页或4页的简历也是可以接受的。)

    塞德尔强调:“你不可能把20年甚至更长的工作经历挤在一张纸上,同时又能保证它条理清晰,方便易读。重要的是,第一页要以摘要和最近的成就开头,并清晰地表述你的经历,以便迅速给对方留下印象。然后,第二页回顾之前的工作经历时,可以减少细节,突出亮点及其与你未来职业生涯的联系。”

    5. 忘了简历的真谛在于自我推销。在为数百位寻求转型的高管提供咨询的过程中,他们的谦逊给塞德尔留下了深刻的印象。他表示:“对于自己取得的非凡的成就,即使最杰出的经理人,也会选择低调处理,他们会说:‘我只是在做我的本职工作而已。’他们不愿自吹自擂。但是在简历里面,自我标榜是可以接受的。实际上,你必须要这么做。别忘了,简历就是一份市场营销材料。”

    塞德尔补充道:“当然,你肯定不想给人留下自大的印象,但是你必须要推销自己。如果你不这么做,那你就有麻烦了,因为你的竞争对手可是会这么做的。”

    反馈:如果你是一名招聘经理,求职者的简历哪些内容给你留下了深刻印象?哪些则不然?欢迎在评论中留下你的观点。

    Dear Annie:So far in my 27-year career, I've always gotten new jobs either through promotions or through headhunters who were already so familiar with my track record that they didn't ask me for a formal resume. Now, however, I'm job hunting and trying to write a resume, and I'm confused about a few things.

    First, in my current position (where I sometimes hire junior managers), I see resumes that start with an "objective statement" at the top, briefly noting what kind of position the person is seeking, but these are mostly hot air. Should I include one on my resume anyway? Second, do I need to squeeze my experience of nearly three decades onto one page? And third, is a cover letter always necessary, or can I let the resume speak for itself? —Winging It

    Dear Winging It:It's no wonder you're a bit mystified, since there really is no one-size-fits-all formula for constructing a winning resume. Moreover, fads and fashions come and go.

    Those "objective statements" you've seen, for instance, were recommended for years by professional resume writers and coaches -- until recruiters and hiring managers began to deride them as mostly fluff. You'd do far better now to start off your resume with a succinct "executive summary." More about that in a minute.

    As for your question about cover letters, these documents seem to have lost a lot of ground in the current economy, due to the simple fact that no one has time to read them. Indeed, your resume itself may get no more than a cursory glance.

    Consider: For his forthcoming book Unbeatable Resumes: America's Top Recruiter Reveals What Really Gets You Hired, Dallas-based veteran headhunter Tony Beshara surveyed 3,000 hiring managers and human resources executives. More than three-quarters (77%) admitted they spend less than 5 minutes reading each resume; 56% devote less than 60 seconds to each one.

    It figures, then, that cover letters are frequently tossed aside: 86% of those surveyed said a cover letter is "not important." With that in mind, your resume alone has to create a clear, instant picture of who you are and what you can bring to the party.

    "It's becoming a cliché to talk about a 'personal brand' -- meaning, what's unique and desirable about you -- but your resume needs to convey that in no uncertain terms," says Howard Seidel, a partner in Boston executive coaching firm Essex Partners. "Most resumes don't."

    Why not? Seidel sees five mistakes that executives commonly make when they put together a resume:

    1. Starting with an "objective statement." As you note, these paragraphs, describing what kind of work a job candidate envisions doing, often contain no useful information.

    Instead, Seidel recommends an "executive summary" paragraph that concisely sums up your major career achievements so far. "You can include a few bullet points emphasizing particular skills," he says. Done right, this will intrigue the person who reads it enough to ensure that he or she will keep on reading.

    2. Trying to be all things to all employers. "Senior managers with a wide range of experience sometimes have trouble articulating their niche," Seidel observes. "But recruiters are very category-driven. They get paid to find a square peg for a square hole. If you try to convey that you're good at a whole lot of things, you can end up not conveying anything."

    The solution: On your resume, emphasize one or two areas where your work has made the biggest impact. Once you're sitting down with an interviewer, you can mention other skills and accomplishments if they seem relevant.

    3. Using language that is too vague. "A really common mistake is writing a resume that is basically a list of job titles, followed by the phrase 'responsible for' -- responsible for this, responsible for that," says Seidel. "The trouble is, many titles don't travel well. Outside the company where you held a certain title, it may not really tell what you actually did. And 'responsible for' may not be specific enough."

    Seidel advises putting your accomplishments in dollars-and-cents terms, or at least in percentage terms: "You increased sales by X, you cut costs by Y, you improved efficiency by how much. You want to make crystal-clear what you've done" -- and, by extension, what tangible results you could produce for a prospective employer.

    4. Squeezing everything onto one page. Contrary to the widespread belief that resumes should be limited to a single page, Tony Beshara's survey of employers found that 95% of them will read, or at least skim, a two-page resume. (In some fields, including health care, information technology, and academia, even 3- or 4-page resumes are okay.)

    "You really can't fit a career of 20 years or more onto a single page without it becoming cluttered and hard to read," notes Seidel. "The important thing is, the first page should have an immediate impact and tell your story clearly, starting with the executive summary and your most recent achievements. Then, as you go back in time on the second page, you can go into less detail, giving just the highlights and how they connect to the rest of your career."

    5. Forgetting that a resume is a sales pitch. In the course of counseling hundreds of executives in transition, Seidel is often struck by how modest they are. "Even the most stellar managers will downplay their truly remarkable achievements by saying, 'I was just doing my job,'" he says. "They don't want to brag. But on a resume, it's okay to brag. In fact, you have to. This is a marketing document."

    Seidel adds, "Of course, you don't want to come across as arrogant, but you have to sell yourself. If you don't, you're in trouble, because your competition will."

    Talkback:If you're a hiring manager, what impresses you (or doesn't) about the resumes you receive? Leave a comment below.

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