To sell yourself in ops, your resume can’t just say what you did; it needs to say how you did it.
By Kevin Fogarty
Don’t ignore the process, said Kristen Jacoway, a certified professional resume writer who works with TheLadders.
A successful resume for an operations executive can’t simply say what you accomplished; it must explain how you did it – what was the process, she said.
"Most resumes I see are missing either the action or the result when they're talking about past jobs," Jacoway said. "Some people will say they saved the company $100,000. That's great, but how did you get there? What was the project, and what did you do to create that savings?"
Demonstrating your competence – and even your level of excellence – is absolutely the right thing to do, but it might not be enough in an economy like this, said Tim Noble, the managing principal for The Avery Point Group, Inc, a search firm in Alpharetta, Ga., that also specializes in efficiency expertise.
In an employers’ market, companies get selective about hiring. They know they can be choosey, Noble said, and they have to be more careful committing to the expense of filling an empty job slot.
Demonstrating you're good at your job – an ‘A’ player who got laid off, not a ‘C’ player someone got rid of – is only half the battle. You have to be able to show on your resume and in your interview where you acted creatively to save money or time, solved a problem, or showed the persistence to continue improving a process even after having seen some results.
Speak the right language
Operations executives are typically faithful to one process or discipline (like Six Sigma or Information Technology Infrastructure Library), and they speak that one language, Jacoway said. The HR managers and recruiters who write the job listings probably describe it the same way. Unless your resume follows the same discipline and employs the same terms and language, the recruiters and Applicant Tracking System (ATS) software that sorts resumes will probably remove your resume from consideration.
"When you read the job postings, you have to look at the keywords that the company is using, then go back and customize that resume with those keywords," she said. "Apply them to your experience, put them in your keywords section, and weave them into the text of the resume. You have to be sure the description is accurate, but which words you use make a big difference."
Summarize your core competencies
Jacoway usually leaves the first section of the resume – a list of the candidate's core competencies – for last.
"It helps me get to know the person a little better, but you also have to be sure there is evidence in the statement describing the job duties that supports that core competency. You don't just put it up there because someone is looking for it. They'll read farther down and you have to show why it's a real competency."
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Kevin Fogarty is a general assignment reporter for TheLadders.