Gabrielle Sarah January 12, 2021 Resume
Clear and Concise. I’m not particularly good at taking care of my glasses. I’m careless with where I leave them so they often develop scratches quickly. Gradually I find myself squinting more and more as I try to make out details. When the squinting becomes too severe, I become aware of the problem and replace the glasses. With each new pair of glasses I’m initially surprised by how clean and crisp everything looks. The comparison between before and after is dramatic. If your resume isn’t clean and crisp – if it doesn’t accurately portray the real you – then you have the ”scratchy glasses” version with prospective employers ”squinting” at your resume. In this article I’ll illustrate resume clarity and showing the ”whole person” by telling you Stephen’s story. Stephen is both a talented IT professional and a friend. His story does a good job of illustrating the importance of sincerity and clarity in resume writing. Stephen’s resume is included here for illustration and reference. The resume is not full of superlatives. It uses clear and concise language and describes Stephen’s accomplishments and abilities without embellishment.
Issue #2 –Technology. Stephen is a gentle soul who is modest about his achievements. When I first read his resume I told him that something was missing. He asked ”what? And I replied ”technology.” This simple exchange highlights the fact that we often find it difficult to accurately self-describe. I know that Stephen has exceptional technical expertise, having worked with him in the past. But he had not thought to include most of it on his resume. His reasoning: he only included technology where he had an extreme level of experience and had not considered others. His measure of acceptance was so high that most technology was excluded. I assigned Stephen the task to list every technology he had used during the past eight years. It is difficult to remember specifics over an extended period of time, so it made sense to start with an all inclusive approach then refine the list based on how and how extensively he used each technology. Together we found the right list of technologies to accurately represent Stephen on his resume.
As I mentioned earlier, do not assume that a resume reviewer will be familiar with various terms and concepts that could substitute for the ones in the position announcement. That may or may not be true. Best advice is to use the potential employer’s terminology from the job posting since that is most likely what reviewers will be looking for. Again, do not assume that the initial reviewers are familiar with the technology involved with the position. They may not be. Be very clear that you meet all of their requirements by ensuring that your technical skills summary, experience summary, and experience details all generously use the correct keywords for the position you are seeking. 3. Provide an Experience Summary. If the reviewer of your resume determines you have experience with the required technologies, the next thing they will attempt to do if to figure out how much experience you have with the specific required technical skills. Your job is to make this process easy for the reviewer, which will then improve your odds for passing the complete resume screening and get an interview. Remember that, in general, resume reviewers do not dedicate much time to each individual resume. If it is too much work for a reviewer to verify your experience against the job requirements, they will most likely move on to the next candidate.
Unrelated personal interests and hobbies: Several years ago, when writing my first resume, I remember being directed to add my hobbies and interests at the bottom of the resume. These hobbies and interests were supposed to show that I was a well-rounded, interesting person. However, this is no longer the norm. In fact, just as adding an ”Objective” to your resume is outdated, so is adding your personal interests. Recruiters just want the facts of your experience relating to the position. Again, you are wasting a Recruiters valuable time by adding these little tidbits of personal information. In fact, by adding this additional information incorrectly, you take the risk of your resume ending up in a circular file (the one next to the recruiter’s desk that contains the remnants of their lunch!). I have had the unfortunate opportunity to review resumes of candidates who listed their personal interests as ”Jazz Hand Aficionado”, ”Exotic Pole Dancer”, and ”Cat Whisperer”. Really?? What does that have to do with a Sales Manager position? As you can imagine, these prospective candidates were not selected for interview.
Include Irrelevant Info (AKA ”Fluff”) – If it’s not important, don’t add it to your resume. If you were a cook 10 years ago but now you’re looking for a job in retail management, don’t clutter up your resume with irrelevancy. Try to put yourself in the shoes of the hiring manager and ask yourself what they would see as important. How does your background correspond with their needs as an employer? Anything else is fluff. Don’t add your hobbies to your resume. Don’t add your references (if they want them, they’ll ask at the appropriate time). And don’t include your high school education either. Finally, don’t be redundant and repeat yourself throughout the context of your resume. It’s OK to reinforce themes, but don’t push it. If your title has been Branch Manager at each of your past three companies, find a way to differentiate each of these positions and highlight your most notable accomplishments. Don’t just copy and paste the line ”Managed a team of branch employees” three times. That will get you nowhere.
Typical Misconceptions. One of the first misconceptions that people hold about the use of resumes is that they are never actually read, especially when there are online application forms to be filled out. While this cannot be proven either way, I do know from my own experience as a professional writer that most recruiters do look at the resumes received because it provides a general overview of the candidate’s attention to, or lack thereof, details such as the style and type of writing. Another common misconception is that a resume must be one page in total length. I am not certain I know how that idea became popular or why it has remained so engrained as it ultimately serves little purpose for most candidates and it can work to the detriment of a job seeker. The reason why is that a one page resume, for a person who has fairly extensive experience, can sell them short. This type of resume will either leave off critical information or it will be typed in a font size that is not easy to read. Other misconceptions include the use of an objective on the resume and writing detailed job descriptions. A job objective is usually a statement of what the candidate would like to do or the specific job they are seeking. The reason why this is not needed is that the cover letter should express interest in the position and there is no need to state it again. In addition, many objective statements are so specific that the candidate would be ruled out from other potential positions that may be related to the advertised job. In addition, many jobs I have seen listed on resumes includes wording that either came from job descriptions or have been written like standard wording from these types of descriptions, and that doesn’t necessarily explain the skills the candidate has and may contain jargon that is not easily understood by everyone reading it.
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