I received a lovely email the other day from a candidate which I met and placed over 5 years ago, and with her permission I would like to share some of it with you:
“You have no idea just how successful a placement you made that day way back when. Thank you so much. You know I was just updating my 2 page resume the other day and I thought of you. It is still very much in the same format you walked me through. It’s an easy read and tells any prospective employer what they really want to know. Best resume advice ANYONE has ever given me. “
Ah the joys of updating ones’ resume. What format should I use? How much detail should I give? How far back should my work history go? Well for a start, let me clarify what purpose a resume serves. This is your personal ‘one chance to impress’ marketing pitch.
The person reading your resume, will simply want to know these 4 things:
- Does the overview read like the person we are looking for?
Has the person demonstrated a clear and concise work history?
Are they successful, what achievements have they had?
Do I want to meet this person?
Your resume should be clear, concise and consistent. Ideally 2 pages, possible 3 if you really have a ton of varied and relevant experience to communicate. Your resume should start with a short synopsis about you, giving the reader a succinct and insightful overview of your skills and experience and areas of expertise.
There is no need to list every responsibility, achievement or additional course you have attended. The purpose of your resume is to introduce yourself, and ‘wet the appetite’ of the reader. We have all heard the saying “less is more”, and when it comes to your resume this is definitely the case.
Yes, do list your current work history, and do include any career highlights/achievements to help demonstrate your success in each position. However, don’t list all your responsibilities. You may find that in doing so, you could actually be talking your way out of a potential role. Your job title, and a couple of lines detailing the size of the company, the industry sector, who you reported to and any direct reports you had, along with key achievements is just enough. Remember this is the appetiser, and the idea is to get in front of the decision makers and engage them face to face.
You don’t want to have to rewrite your resume each time you apply for a role, particularly if your work is diverse, or you are changing roles. You simply need to demonstrate your experience and your ability to adapt and succeed. Keep it consistent, because chances are someone will see your resume more than once, particularly if you are working in a specific field, or geographical area. If you start ‘tweaking’ your resume for different roles, you stand to lose credibility, which can be hard to win back.
Finally, keep your formatting simple. This is not an entry for a competition! Let your skills and attributes be the focus of the reader.
Having reviewed thousands of resumes, it is safe to say that with Victoria’s insights your personal BRAND will be the cherry on top, and not the waffle no-body wants!