Recruiters and HR people receive resumes every day that do not do the person justice. While there is no such thing as THE right style of resume, there are plenty of resume mistakes which can hamper a person’s job search. It was for this reason that I really enjoyed an article by Lily Zhang titled ‘5 Things the People Reading Your Resume Wish You Knew’ which appeared last month in ‘The Muse’.
So to avoid any backlash from job seekers to our roles, I thought I’d let you take it away Lily: what is number one on your list?
You might as well not send the resume if your experience and education cannot be easily found
It can be easier to solve Rubik’s Cube than decipher some resumes. You would hope the resume had a job history showing positions in chronological order, with dates against each role. Yet people often have a range of headings such as ‘Change Management’ or ‘Leadership’ with roles listed under the various headings. Often there are no dates and roles listed more than once.
Sometimes the most relevant information can also be lost when people try and make their resume stand out. Remember this is a resume not a fancy wedding invitation, so use a standard format.
The reader will not connect the dots for you if your career background does not appear to align with role you’re applying for.
People are changing careers much more frequently and organisations are also increasingly seeing the benefit of a person who has followed a road less travelled. Or, you could be an aspirational candidate where the role is within your field of experience but would seem a considerable step up for you.
In such circumstances you need to avoid confusion when the recruiter/HR person reads the resume and cannot easily find the connection between your background and the role on offer. Lily suggests you use a simple ‘Objective Statement’ to connect the dots for the reader. You could also telephone the contact recruiter/HR person to explain.
Keep your resume brief and easy to skim.
Remember: your resume is only to introduce you, it does not get you the job. There’s plenty of online advice on how to keep your resume down to 3, maybe 4 pages at most. In essence it all comes back to the resume being an introduction, not an autobiography.
Some years ago I had an interesting discussion with a person over his 15 page resume and he explained he’d already shaved it back significantly. Considering he was well into his 50’s I question the need for him to list one of his achievements as a milk monitor when in primary school.
Tell us more Lily about keeping the resume easy to read: “Don’t make your font so small that it’s barely legible. It doesn’t matter how much more you’re able to fit on your one-pager if no one is reading it.”
Every role these days requires good communication skills, including the ability to work cohesively with people outside your area of speciality. The overpowering use of jargon just does not cut it. This is especially when you remember that your resume needs to be vetted by recruiters and HR departments before it ever reaches your potential manager.
Lily wisely suggests you “step outside of your industry bubble for a bit and try to approach your resume as an industry outsider.”
Please ensure your contact details are correct.
I couldn’t count the number of times a resume contains a mobile number which is invalid or an email address that is incorrect and we need to go hunting to reach the person. Last year I had a senior executive who had left his employer and so the work email he had initially used was no longer operational. His resume had no phone numbers; no email and not even a postal address. We only tracked him down via a mobile number he had listed for a referee! Sure, typos and omissions can happen….but should NEVER happen to your contact details, so check and then check again.
You can view Lily’s full article in Muse by clicking here.