Your Resume and Bulls*** Bingo

by Josh

What, you thought I was done?

I’m just getting warmed up.

Dealing with Peeps

If you have management experience, be sure it is highlighted.  Managing projects is about managing people.  If you are brand new and are going for a position like “project coordinator”, “project analyst”, or as a team member working on a project, highlight specific examples where you accomplished great things working with your team.

Action Statements

A resume is not a WBS.  It’s not a scope statement.  It’s a tool to describe what actions you have taken in the past to get things done, and lead prospective employers to believe you will probably get ‘er done in the future.

Scope, Schedule, Budget

Highlight your experience managing the triple constraints.  I will call out relevant factoids like  (these are made up)

  • “Managed a project budget of $5MM”.
  • “Lead my team through a dramatic change in engineering approach and de-scope.”
  • “Built and managed schedules at multiple levels and across multiple contractors, maintaining vertical traceability.”

Straight Talk

fortune cookie resume by ceeb via Flickr

fortune cookie resume by ceeb via Flickr

I prefer direct and concise language on my resume.  I’ve seen too many resumes when screening candidates that I could play bullsh** bingo with.

(Is “vertical traceability” in the last section a candidate for bullsh** bingo?  Hmm…borderline, but hey, at least it actually means something.)

Both of the statements below are meant to describe the same event.

  • Improved answer rate by 10%, cut abandoned calls in half
  • Led a client-focused and results-driven initiative to enhance customer satisfaction through optimized efficiency.

Imagine you saw the second bullet all by itself.  What does that even mean?


Leave a Comment

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Glen B. Alleman July 29, 2009 at 11:15 pm

A resume is a proposal. A proposal from you to the buyer. All good proposal writing concentrates on one concept.

“Stating the unassailable benefical outcome to the buyer.”

So when you state some fact about your experience – you also need to state the “unassailable benefical outcome.” You get to that in the last paragraph.

“Managed a project budget of $5MM, with 2% under budget, 4% ahead of schedule, and 100% client satisfation with the Statement of Work deliverables.”


Josh June 24, 2012 at 1:57 am

This is an excellent point Glen. I know you left this comment years ago now, but I’ve revisited this post and should have left a thanks for your input back then.


David Russell July 31, 2009 at 9:01 am


Another tip for your readers: A lot of companies use an automated tool to sift through resumes to determine likelihood of fit. This automated tool is not at all unlike the way a search engine parses a web site. All it does is dig through the resume and look for certain key words that should be present based upon their desired skills.

So, a position for a project manager on a project that will create web software will result in an automated search for “Project Manager”, “web”, and “software”. Sadly, the more times those items appear in your resume, the greater chance of being found as competent enough for a human to even bother reading your resume. The same techniques that worked back in 1997 to get to top of the search engine results, are exactly what needs to be employed to get to the top of the resume search results.

And all of this, just so a REAL person will even bother to take the time to read your resume. It saddens me to think that we, as a workforce, have been reduced to heuristic searches and keyword density.

David Russell


Josh June 24, 2012 at 1:58 am

Thanks David. As I said with Glen, this is an excellent point to keep in mind for people revising their resumes.


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