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How this tiny resume mistake could cost you your dream job

How this tiny resume mistake could cost you your dream job

Imagine you’re watching the season finale of your favourite TV show and right at the moment the actors on screen are about to reveal the final cliffhanger – your power goes out.

“gasp!…what just happened?” 

That’s what it’s like reading a resume that states only what a person is capable of doing and doesn’t go on to tell the story of how their actions directly impacted their client or their organization.

Commonly used resume statement

“….goal-oriented professional who achieves results.”

Huh? What did you do, exactly and how does this story end?

Here are some more cliffhanger examples from your resume

  • I can motivate teams
  • I have won awards
  • I have a solid business acumen

These are great pieces of information to include in a resume, but they’re not stand-alone material. Each statement is missing the most important part of the story: the results.

Tell us what happened next…

  • You motivated a team and then what happened?
  • You won awards and that’s important to your reader because….?
  • Your solid business acumen ensures you….? …and that will help your next company how?

Meaningful resume statements

Meaningful resume statements identify not only what you can do, but how it produced results for your company or your client.

I motivated teams, increased sales and improved profitability 15%.

Ah! That’s awesome!

I earned two leadership awards for excellence that garnered my company huge media attention.

Amazing! Tell me more!

With solid business acumen, I improved output from high calibre teams and accelerated growth 10%.

Let me pick up the phone right now and invite you to interview for this job!

How to avoid this resume mistake in the future?

Instead of saying

“I can do this.”

“I have done that.”


“I can do ‘this’ and ‘these’ were the results.”

“I have done ‘that’ and it achieved ‘this’ result.”

The formula is:

“I did X and achieved Y.”

Don’t leave the person reading your resume hanging because you didn’t finish telling your story. Unlike the person watching their favourite TV show when the power goes out, the hiring manager is not going to seek out the rest of the story to learn what happens next.

Cliffhangers are fine for TV, not your job search


Related Categories: Career Clarity, Client Questions & Answers, Resumes & ATS

About The Author
Maureen McCann is an award-winning career coach, master resume writer, and master certified interview, employment, and career strategist whose clients include C-level executives, managers, and professionals in all industries including the Canadian banking, oil and gas, healthcare, IT, and government sectors.

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