7 Simple Rules for Maximum Effectiveness
Despite many advances in modern technology, resumes haven’t really changed much over the years. While many are now delivered via email rather than old-fashioned snail mail, the modern resume still contains much of the same information, often presented in the same formats we’ve been seeing for decades. Hiring managers still stick to what’s safe and what’s been working (or, at least, managing to facilitate the process) for the past 60-plus years. But back to the resume itself: We spend hours and hours perfecting our resumes, or paying various individuals to add a touch of flair to perfect our resumes and help us stand out from the ever-growing crowds of applicants. What’s the goal of a resume? It’s simple: To open the door for an interview. How long does it take for a recruiter or hiring manager to read your resume? About 30 seconds. “But, wait,” you’re thinking. “I’ve just spent hours and hours of my life meticulously pointing out every one of my professional accomplishments and spent hundreds (maybe thousands) of dollars for professional resume writing or editing services…and I get a measly 30 seconds of viewing time?” You got it.
7 Golden Rules for a Door-Opening Resume
So, here are some tips to position your resume as a stellar door-opening machine. First, and this should go without saying, but nonetheless: Read the job description and ensure that most, if not all, of your resume speaks to the precise requirements the company is seeking. Beyond that all-important focus, there are also some simple and basic rules to follow when writing and formatting your resume. The short version: Keep it simple, but please do share your personality. The long version: These seven tips will get you where you need to go. (You know, through the door.)
- No pictures, please. Let’s leave that to the real estate agents, shall we? Instead, make sure your LinkedIn profile picture is pleasant and appropriate, or, better yet, professional. Note: We recruiters love to search socially, so you can bet we’ll be seeking you out on the social networks.
- Stop with the objectives. It’s done, outdated, circa-1990. Let’s face it: Objectives are bull, and everyone knows it. Everyone’s objective is the same, anyway. They want a job; namely, the one they’re applying for. (At least, that should be the case. If you’re spraying and praying, stay tuned. We’ll be discussing this in more detail in an upcoming article.)
- Find your voice and stick with it. First person or third person, past tense or present tense, not a mix of the past, present, and future that will leave the reader feeling so disoriented, they might think they’ve been dropped right into the middle of a Back to the Future movie.
- How many pages? 10? Are you crazy? Two pages, maximum, unless you’ve published your little heart out and you’re a professor. If you’ve read this far, you know that you’re getting about 30 seconds of a recruiter’s or hiring manager’s attention, so why are you wasting your time producing a 10-page essay when what they really want to know are the highlights of why you’re the perfect person for this job and that they must contact you to set up an interview immediately?
- I think it’s time to move on from Microsoft’s outdated templates. If anything, using a Microsoft resume template doesn’t do much in the way of showcasing your initiative and creativity. At worst, it will earn you a premier spot in File 13 on first glance.
- Don’t be afraid of gaps in employment or time lapses between roles. Just be prepared to explain them. Well, you had a baby, you left on an Ashram to find yourself; everyone has a story. Please share. Laid-off? Be upfront and deal with it head on.
- As I’ve already mentioned, recruiters love to search socially, so save us some time and include your social networks, such as LinkedIn and Twitter. We want to see how you’re connecting and what you follow, as well as who might follow you.
Follow these simple rules, and let your creativity lead you to showcase your skills and abilities in a unique, but highly targeted way, within reasonable constraints. Your resume will stand out from the crowd in just the right way to garner the attention it deserves and open the door to the interview you need to land the job of your dreams.