Please Step Aside, Resume Coming Through:The Power of the Well-Written Resume
Updated: Sep 15, 2018
This week I have been quite busy helping professionals at all levels with writing their resumes. Every time I complete a resume and look back at what we started with, I get such a tingly feeling inside. I think by now everyone knows I have a thing for well-written resumes. As an HR professional who has looked at hundreds of resumes, nothing excites me more than a resume that is concise yet detailed enough for me to decide in 12 seconds or less if I would like to know more about this person. By that I mean scheduling an interview. I have found that there is a tendency to take the need for a well-written resume for granted and I would like to help change that.
What is a Resume?
A resume is your first introduction to your prospective employer. It is your elevator pitch in paper form. It is your first shot at capturing the attention of the recruiter or hiring manager. The resume should scream “Hey this is me. These are my strengths and accomplishments, and therefore I am a top prospect!” It is your medium for advertising yourself. Your own personal billboard in Word or PDF format.
Length, Layout and Content Matter
We have been told that less is more since the beginning of time. The same applies to your resume. The ideal resume page length in my experience has been one page. You may push it to two pages, but a recruiter takes 6 seconds on average to review a resume, so they may not get to page two. You may be wondering “how can I possibly achieve a one age resume?” Trust me, it is possible with effective margin sizes, easy to read layouts and concise but detailed descriptions. It is a delicate balance, but it can be done.
The resume is a snapshot of your professional life, not an autobiography. You only need about 10 -15 years (or less) of work experience on the resume. You can discuss anything missing from the resume during your interview. The goal is to get the interview not to have a recruiter reading 10 pages just to end up with a big “huh?”
Your Resume is You on Paper
The resume you submit to prospective employers is you on paper and is judged that way. If your resume is sloppy and has grammatical and spelling errors, then recruiters are going to almost immediately assume that you are sloppy. Harsh but true. I mean how can you say you are detailed-oriented on your resume but your resume is not detail-oriented? Not a good look. A well-written resume shows prospective employers that you are a serious professional and they will most likely consider interviewing you to learn more.
Consider having your resume reviewed by a resume writer, a recruiter or an adviser at a local career center. Work on getting your resume to be less in page numbers but more in content and structure. Don’t underestimate the power of a well-written resume.