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You’ve been at your current company for more than five years. You feel like you’ve learned everything you need to learn and there isn’t much growth opportunity. You’ve decided to put yourself out there, but you haven’t put together a resume for at least five years. Where do you begin?
You start Googling articles about resume writing; you go to the library to read up on the latest resume formats, and, maybe, you talk with a professional resume writer or two. The more information you gather, however, the more paralyzed you become. Then, finally, after days of research and toil, you come up with a resume that you like. You start applying for jobs, and that’s when the rejection emails begin pouring in. You think to yourself, “I’ve spent so much time on this resume, and these disrespectful recruiters just keep rejecting me left and right…why?! They only spend 12 seconds on my resume! Have they even looked at my experience?”
Am I describing you? Let’s change that. In order for you to have a clearer mindset, please skim through the following resume myths.
“My resume is gluten-free. Read it!” is a three-part series that will not only walk you through the dos and don’ts of resume writing but will also share with you the mindset behind the explanations. Hopefully, they will help empower you not only in your resume writing but also in your phone and in-person interviews.
Studies have shown that we know if we want to engage in conversation with a stranger within the first five seconds of the initial meeting. Similarly, the first page of your resume is the window into how much time a recruiter/hiring manager wants to spend on it; the rest is validation or contradiction of the initial assumption(s).
DO keep it simple: We want to know what you do now and what you have done in the last ten years (if applicable) in the first or first two pages.
DON’T categorize on page 1 the many hats you have worn over the years by sorting your experiences into “PEOPLE MANAGEMENT,” “OPERATIONS,” “SALES SUCCESS,” and “MARKETING” and then follow with your accomplishments in each of these categories. Recruiters or hiring managers do not know if you have current people management responsibilities or if that was something you did over a decade ago. While they may not outright pass on your candidacy, given the time constraints, they may skip over your resume.
DO use good grammar. Set aside your resume for a day or two and then revisit it for typos and grammatical errors. If you are not the best speller or confident in your writing abilities, then consider using an outside proofreading platform. I use these tools for professional and daily writing:
Proofreading platform, Scribendi.com
Web-based grammar-checking platform, Grammarly.com
DON’T be overly confident with your writing ability or rely too much on spell-check programs. Be sure to proofread several times before sending out your resume. I have had to reject a number of candidates due to significant writing mistakes even after incredible phone interviews. Words like “role” and “roll” are not going to be picked up by a spell checker. Tense inconsistencies are not going to be picked up, either.
DO consider the reader. I’ve seen plenty of resumes that read more like “streams of consciousness” rather than a resume. Candidates will fill three-quarters of a page with dense writing outlining the tasks for which they were responsible. Instead, consider the person who will be reading the resume and think about how you can make your resume more readable and digestible.
DON’T list your day-to-day activities. A hiring manager will look for a few specific things following your job title, for example, what you did for your team or company, the internal stakeholders with which you collaborated, and, again, exactly what you accomplished, not simply what you do on a daily basis.
The goal of this article and this series is not to upset any job seekers who have poured their heart and soul into their resume trying to present themselves to the best of their ability. On the contrary, my goal is to empower you with knowledge.