Resume Mistakes: 3 Ways You’re Burying the Lede was originally published on Ivy Exec.
In journalism, an article is said to be “burying the lede” when it does not place the most important part of the story close to or at the beginning of the story.
This is considered ineffective because it is a good way to lose the reader’s attention and induce them to skim to the next story. This is a common mistake that you can also learn from and correct when you are sitting down to write your resume.
We have written before about how recruiters and human resource professionals are often strapped for time, and studies show that they may not read past the first third of the page if the pertinent information they are looking for is not there.
Today we are looking at three ways you are probably already burying the lede when writing your resume and what you can do to build a stronger opening.
1️⃣ Mistake #1 – Not Introducing Yourself Properly⛔
The structure of a journalism story is Who, What, Where, When, and Why? You will notice that the “Who” comes first. So when you are burying the lede in your resume, it can often be that your introduction of yourself is not engaging.
Whether you are posting your resume on a site like Linkedin or sending in a PDF to a prospective employer’s online job posting, you will need to pay significant attention to how you are stating your identity. This may be a quick cut line under your name or an entire branding paragraph, but you must get this across, and you don’t have much time to do it.
- John Smith, UX Engineer
This is a perfectly serviceable way to introduce yourself. Who you are and your job title. But it does nothing to differentiate you from the hundreds of other UX engineers applying for a job as a… UX Engineer. It is a missed opportunity to stand out.
A better way to bring up some of the important parts of the story that would otherwise be buried in your experience section would be:
- John Smith, Top UX Engineer and Lead Designer of Aspierient Corps Breakthrough GUI
You have not only introduced yourself but taken only a little bit more of the precious resume “real estate” to link your name to your top accomplishment. You have accomplished something in your field, and this is a reason why you should be in demand.
This, along with your other accomplishments, can be placed in the experience section as well, just as journalistic stories may repeat important facts, but this increases the chance that a decision-maker in the hiring process will be well aware of it.
2️⃣ Mistake #2 – Not Linking Experience To Accomplishment⛔
The experience section is usually placed highly in a resume because unless you are applying for an entry-level position, it is likely to be your greatest strength. A common structure is to follow a job title with a job description.
Let’s look at how John would do it.
- UX Designer, Aspierient Corp
Responsible for monitoring all User Experiences and ensuring ease of use for Asperient software. Duties included reviewing feedback, refining the user experience, and testing usability to improve features and functions.
Now, this is not a terrible way to do it. It has brevity and may match the job description that X corp posted. However, again it misses an opportunity to take information that would be stated later, perhaps in the skills section, and link it to the job that John was asked to accomplish at Aspierient.
If you were to unbury the lede, you would try something like this:
- Lead Designer, UX Department of Aspierient Corp
Took responsibility for all User Experience functions to create an action plan to upgrade the GUI software of Aspierient’s software suite. Led team to the creation of an advanced GUI in a period of 16 months which increased subscription levels by 33%, resulting in an increase of $7.7 million in quarterly profits.
John’s leadership skills and success in the GUI project would be stated later in the skills/accomplishments section, but by then, there was no guarantee that the HR person tasked with reviewing this resume would still be reading. By placing this in his experience and typically privileging accomplishment over the job description, you can grab attention that otherwise might be flagging at this point.
3️⃣ Mistake #3 – Skill Bullets Without Context ⛔
If you have done well to this point, your resume will keep the reader engaged enough to check out what you consider to be your most pertinent job skills.
Let’s see how John likes to highlight his top three skills.
- Identification and interviewing of users affected by poor UX design
- Creation and implementation of customized user experiences for digital subscribers
- Analysis of product specifications and user psychology to predict user outcomes
Once again, John knows his stuff. These might be the exact phraseology and keywords that will get him past the first round of screening and on the desk of someone who is performing evaluations of the applicants. However, without the context of when the job’s skills came in handy, the significance of these skills can fly over the head of the reader.
A better way to give weight to your skills could be to state them like this:
- Identification of flaws in the UX design of the company’s flagship product by performing user interviews through the implementation of a custom-designed chat function.
- Creation of a common database for all members of the design team to collate subscriber error data and proposed solutions based on user feedback.
- Analysis of product specifications and stress test results to cross reference with user psychology data to create the structure of the Asperient Corp GUI improvement project.
By adding context to his stated job skills of Identification, Creativity, and Analysis, John can show how his use of these skills is different and perhaps superior to candidates A, B, & C sitting next to him on the desk.
Do you think that your resume is still burying the lede? Do you want to tell a better story of who you are and why you deserve the position? Take the opportunity to consult with our experts in the field at Ivy Exec and excavate those ledes today!