Is Resume Speak Killing Your Business Prose?

Many years ago, I hired a personal trainer who operated his own practice within my health club. I had seen him working with his clients, liked his style, and observed that the people he trained got results. After our three trial sessions, he sat me down to discuss the possibility that we’d continue working together. (I was already sold.)

He handed me his brochure, which spent 4 of its six pages describing features and benefits of his business and sharing testimonials. The other 2 pages contained a long list not only of certifications but of all of the continuing education course he’d taken in the previous 5 years.

The effect? I thought, “Wow, this guy is so good and so insecure.”

Though resumes have evolved into more aggressive marketing documents, most people of my generation learned to create resumes to impress senior people in our own fields. Traditional resumes demonstrate aspiration to or achievement of insider status. Customers aren’t looking for that.

I appreciated the reassurance that my trainer was certified and that he had happy clients willing to testify to his excellent work. Reading about his philosophy about health and fitness helped me know what to expect when working with him. I was interested to know his areas of specialization. However, I had no particular use for a list of classes he took with organizations I wasn’t familiar with. Unlike a club manager who might want to hire him for a job, I would have had to take time to conduct additional research just to verify the credibility of these entities.

My trainer’s error was assuming that customers wanted to know if he “measured up.” Bosses want to know that – in part they need to justify your hire to their bosses. Clients and customers just want to trust that you can help them. Say THAT!

One Comment

Malaika H Kambon

10 August 2011

Interesting comments. I’ll see if I can incorporate them into an improvement in my own resume, even though I do not think that I have the same problem.

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