Your Resume: It’s Not About You

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by Donna Svei on November 30, 2010

The most challenging aspect of writing resumes is helping my clients understand that their resume isn’t about them. What? That’s right. A resume is about your reader, not you. In resume writing, as in any writing, it’s critically important to write to your audience. I’m going to repeat that because it’s the message of this post.

It’s critically important to write your resume to your audience.

OK. Thanks. I feel better now.

I have tussled with clients over this. I can think of a time I “lost.” My client wrote what she thought the Search Committee should know about her. It wasn’t what the Search Committee wanted to know about her. My client was probably right but that didn’t matter. Despite great recommendations into the Search Committee, including a personal friendship with one of the members, she didn’t get an interview.

Being right, and a few dollars, will get you something frothy at Starbucks. It won’t get you an interview.

Why didn’t she get an interview? Because she didn’t provide the information the Search Committee wanted. Rather, she gave them the information she wanted them to have. Thus, she made her resume all about her, and what she wanted to share, rather than all about the Search Committee and what they wanted to know.

There’s a time to tell a future employer what you want them to know about you. It’s after they have decided they just might want to hire you. Until then, make it mostly about them and what they want. Be patient, after you convince them you have what they want, they will be very interested in what you want.

So, how do you figure out what a future employer wants? Start here.

I write executive resumes and LinkedIn profiles. Save time. Get hired. Email me at or call me at (208) 721-0131.

Image: Nguyen Vu Hung

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Career Sherpa November 30, 2010 at 13:25

Love this post!
Targeting the audience/ receiver/employer is the best practice.

SeSee November 30, 2010 at 14:47

Again: you ROCK! Can we mass email it to all? Great advice and well-stated. Thank you again for words of wisdom!

Donna Svei aka AvidCareerist November 30, 2010 at 17:17

Thanks Hannah and SeSee. Mail away SeSee!


Tracy L. Murray November 30, 2010 at 17:26

So smart Donna – write to your audience! Thanks for posting this.

Alaguvel April 21, 2011 at 09:48

Great post! Its to good. I think, it will help the candidates who to prepare their resumes.

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