How to avoid burying the lead in your resume

How to avoid burying the lead in your resume?What is burying the lead? Journalists understand that in a news story the lead is the first sentence telling you the topic of the story. In your resume, think about avoiding burying the lead not only in the beginning of your resume but throughout each bullet.

How are you burying the lead in your resume?

Professional resume writers agree that the first half to 2/3 of the first page of your resume will draw in the reader. If you don’t help the hiring manager understand your value and why they should hire you in that space, they rarely read more. Next, off your resume goes to the discard pile.

I coach clients to create an accomplishment section to position their best resume stories at the top of the document. The word accomplishments sometimes confuses people because they think of awards or stellar achievements. An accomplishment is simply stating how you added value to the company.

Accomplishment hunting

In my interactive resume writing process, we dig for those hidden accomplishments during our client meetings. I ask clients:

  • Change a process or create a process that made things better?
  • Work with a budget? How big? Do you keep it on track? What is the variance?
  • Redesign a team to improve efficiency?
  • Create accountability?
  • Retain a client that was almost lost due to mismanagement?

All of these questions are fair game to create resume stories to fill out a Leadership Success Highlights section or a Strategic Achievements in Engineering area.

What about burying the lead in your bullets?

While collaboration in most roles is critical, people who worry that it will look like they did it alone tend to start their resume bullets with:

  • Collaborated with the Vice President on…
  • Worked closely with the Engineering Department…

Guess what? You just buried the lead. You can still mention the collaboration — at the back of the sentence. Don’t bury the lead! Read these bullets I wrote with a client who landed a job-winning new role as Vice President of Global Transportation:

  • Strategic Sales Growth – Rapidly drove sales gains from $3 million to $25 million in North America for Company by tapping new markets, showcasing solutions within the market segment, and working with government officials on the local, state, and national level in both Canada and the United States.
  • Establish and foster strategic partnerships with vendor base to create the necessary individualized tools and products to win and deliver specific contract requirements.

These bullets speak to working with others but they lead with the concept that critical without a beginning focused on just working with others.

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Land your next role! I am the pioneer of unique resume writing services and strategy. I use interactive live writing and coaching sessions to capture your value. This positions you for success in your resume, on LinkedIn, and throughout your job search. I help bring out your passion and stories to dig deep into your experiences with you. Learn more here

Image courtesy of Stuart Miles at

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Julie Walraven, Design Resumes

Julie Walraven

Professional Resume Writer

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