The best resume writing isn’t actually based on theory. It’s based on realism. When you write your resume, you need to consider the impact of what you’re telling your resume readers.

The “So what” method, explained

The “So what” method of resume writing is an interesting and very practical method of quality checking your resume. It’s simple. Its most important effect is to get you thinking about your resume content and information quality.

The “So what” method asks resume writers to visualize a reader saying “So what” after each resume entry. Brutal, perhaps, but you can see why this approach is so valuable.

Let’s get this straight, now:

“So what” is exactly what the people who have to recommend you for an interview have to ask themselves.

Imagine you have a thousand applicants for one job. You have to evaluate 20 people to get an interview. “So what?” is a pretty relevant question.

The resume writing process – Managing your information

There’s another side to this which is even less obvious. The resume writing process tends to be mechanical. You can write a resume, but do you critique the information you provide? Do you know the difference between an ultra-competitive resume and a resume which is simply going to go through the motions and get nowhere?
So What
Consider this as a working comparison:

Candidates A and B are going for a job as retail sales people in a big electronics warehouse. They’re both experienced, and pretty good sales people. It’s how they write their resumes which really show the differences between them, and it’s a grim comparison.

  • Candidate A is a good salesperson, but a bit too modest, to start with. She summarizes her work history, writes a few basic skills, and adds some sales figures. She doesn’t elaborate on her figures, just provides basic “exceeded sales targets” with no information about what was sold. It’s a wasted opportunity, because she sells electronics and is well suited to the job.
  • Candidate B is as good a salesperson as Candidate A, but really does her homework on the resume content. She provides clearly visible sales figures, itemized in bullet points, and a breakdown of types of electronic goods. She does this using less space than Candidate A, too, so she can add graphics and use the free space to deliver more useful information.So What method

Now consider this – Resume readers must compare candidates. You can see how “So what” is going to eliminate Candidate A, compared to Candidate B. It’s inevitable.

Applying the “So what” method

A word of advice, at this point – Don’t consider this a “go through the motions” exercise. It’s not. You really do need to think about exactly what your resume is telling your readers.

  • During the resume writing process:
  • Consider the best way to express your information to make it look as good as possible.
  • Ask if your information looks competitive.
  • Think about how you can express your information – Can you use graphics to create a great presentation and save time and space? (You probably can.)

For more information about the “So what” method, see this link.

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