Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Essential Resume

Who has the best resume? In this article we will explore one of the most important documents you will ever create in your life.

The resume is something that everyone has to create and then update on a regular basis. Those who have joined the job market since the 80's will likely change jobs 5 times or more over the course of their career and millennials can expect many more. This new reality highlights the importance of a good resume.

There are many different methodologies and formats floating around out there but most of those are post war era, a time when people took jobs for life. Those old formats do not apply in the 21st century and they actually could be keeping you from getting an interview.

After all, the real reason anyone writes a resume is to get a job interview and the best resume is the one that gets you the INTERVIEW.

Dave Soteros, President of Alrym Consulting, says that most resumes don't even get into the hands of decision makers. A poorly written resume just confuses the agency/corporate recruiter. The resume doesn't tell them that You are the right person for the job, it leaves them wondering if...


Recruiters just don't have time to decipher or decode a resume. If the resume is that bad or doesn't appear to be for the position posted then maybe the writer is bad too.
Even if they do think you may have the skills for the job they won't feel that they could send the resume to the hiring manager without a lot of reformatting or a lot of rewriting. Both slow down the process which leaves the possibility of your resume getting to the decision maker too late.
A properly formatted, well written and targeted resume is more likely to be read by a hiring manager. A well written resume opens doors and facilitates interviews for better jobs at higher pay levels.
I've seen well written and targeted resumes of candidates with little experience get an interview. I've seen how that same candidate with a polished and targeted interview presentation win the job over other more experienced candidates. But that's another subject.

So what does a good resume look like?

Dave says he researched best practices in resume writing as a consultant to a global staffing agency and has discovered what works to get the attention of most hiring managers and recruiters. A good resume reads easily and comes up in searches more often. It clearly responds to the requirements of the desired position.

He goes on to say that most hiring managers dread the hiring process. It takes up too much of their time and takes focus away from their daily deliverables. Hiring is not a domain of expertise that they are actively pursuing.
You can assume that the hiring manager is already overwhelmed by the hiring process. They shouldn't be in a position where they would have to try to decipher the resume to see if the candidate fits.
Dave says that, just like a book, the first few lines of a resume are what gets the reader hooked so if you want to get the attention of a recruiter or hiring manger you must respond to their needs in the first 10 lines of your resume.
To get inside the head of a hiring manager we have to understand how they think.
Hiring managers think within their own 4 walls. They think about the functional and technical gaps in their environment. They need to see that you can fill the gap in their environment. That you have done what they need done and have worked in a similar environment. The environment is all about the numbers... Number of people, number of clients, number of responsibilities, number of transactions,  number of products, number of tools and of course the most important number, the number of years of experience.
Being a member of a team of 5 that is serving hundreds of clients with few transactions is a very different environment than a team of 100 that services 1 client that has thousands of transactions.

So now that we have the intelligence what are the rules?
Dave Soteros says that if you follow these rules you will get more interviews:

  1. The purpose of the resume is to get an interview
  2. Use a pleasing easy to read font such as 10-11 points Arial
  3. Use basic document formatting like bold, bullets and italics with black lettering. No tables or macros, just the basics.
  4. Write in point form trying to stay within 70 columns per line - Bullet points can be read quickly and easily where as paragraphs force the reader to read each word.
  5. Do Not include subjective information as it will be ignored - Subjective information is tantamount to BS. Everyone can say they are quick to learn, team players or goal oriented etc... You have to be able to qualify this information. 
  6. Do Not use an objective as objectives are subjective - see rule five
  7. Use a summary of experience at the top of the resume as it is likely the only part of your resume that will be read. The summary should respond directly to the specific job requirements for the job you are submitting your resume for. You should have a list of summary items that are interchangeable depending on the job requirements.
  8. Your work experience should reflect your summary - The work experience section of your resume only needs to be as long as required to reflect your summary. If you state in your summary that you have 8 years experience then you must have work experience going back 8 years.
  9. List achievements in your work experience. What you were responsible for is not as important as what you achieved so turn your responsibilities into achievements. It's better to say that you completed the task on time and on budget than to just say that I performed this task.
  10. Explain gaps - Any time you leave questions unanswered on your resume, like a gap in work history, you are creating more work for the recruiter or the hiring manager. Why? Because they have to ask about the gap. So if you went to Tibet to discover yourself then fill in the gap with that information. You'll have to provide it anyway so clear up the question before it gets asked or risk being passed over.
  11. Tell the truth - Failing this is probably the best way to produce a gap in work history.
  12. Do Not use a cover page - Cover pages are typically subjective and summarily ignored by hiring managers and recruiters. If they ask for a cover letter then just politely say that you have included a summary at the top of your resume. They will appreciate this.
Here is an example of the resume format

Dave Soteros is President of Alrym Consulting. He has over 10 years of experience with career coaching, career planning, career counseling, resume writing, interviewing, hiring, resourcing and recruiting.
He looks forward to your comments and questions and can be reached at http://alrym.blogspot.com

1 Comment:

ARUNA LALJI said...

Very well expressed the Resume is like a jacket to your persona and if the cover of the book or an entrance to a building is attractive you have access to enter it. Your resume is your marketing tool in short...........how good you are in marketing yourself...........