I’m going to repost a reply I made to a comment on a recent post.  In part, because, well, I’m lazy.  That said: I think it’s actually kind of insightful (yeah, I know, I was pretty shocked too).

Jane Roqueplot (if her name was “Rougeplot”, I’d be giddy, since I’m a geek about fantasy and sci-fi, and that just sounds like a character name if ever there was one) asked me why I wasn’t a fan of the first-person resume – here’s what I came up with.  It probably helped that I’d been inhaling ether fumes again.

Think of your resume as a description of features, and the benefits those features gave to your employers (this puts your potential employer into “if he/ she was here, I could have that for us”). It’s really about the reader, not you – you want them focused on how their/ the company’s life will change for the positive. Using “I” and “me” has the unintended effect of making them think of you as selfish. Let them be selfish.

Basically, your resume should paint a picture of the possible, and appeal to their needs/ desires: “If I hire Jane as a Program Director, she’s going to do the same things she did with that consulting firm – and those were incredible. If she’s here, doing incredible things, we’re going to have amazing programs, and that will mean more sales, and more money, and more money means I can buy a boat. And a boat would make me happy.” This really means: “If I hire Jane, I will be happy.”

Make it about the person you’re selling to, not about you….

…You’re showing the person reading the resume how you did what you did, and whetting their appetite for more – which they’ll only get by meeting you in person.

There’s an old adage that I learned from writing poetry (and, yup, that’s what my degree is in – writing poetry, which is oh, so, so useful…): “show, don’t tell”. I think that applies incredibly well to sales, job hunting, marketing, etc.