Remember this key fact – the purpose of your resume is to get you an interview. Everything about the development of your resume must be focused on this fact. An effective resume gets you the maximum number of interviews.
Your resume must contain the right information for the right job.
To be effective, your resume must be attention getting AND use keywords and phrases that effectively communicate your value for that job and company. Extraneous information detracts from this communication.
You have a short period of time and a limited amount of space to attract attention, demonstrate your value and get an interview. Use it wisely. If your resume is focused and succinct, it will increase your chances of getting decision makers to call you.
Many executive resumes will have three or even four pages; most not more than three.
How your resume looks is important too.
Your resume must capture attention by using design elements such as type fonts, bolding, layout and white space so it stands out from the mass. These design elements are not just visual. They serve a key purpose: To guide readers’ eyes to the information you want them to see, in the order you want it seen.
Remember, a resume that simply looks good but does not contain the right information in the right order won’t make it past the initial review.
What resume format is best?
There are distinct styles in which resumes are written. The traditional style is reverse chronological; another is functional (skills based). When hiring managers, recruiters and executive search firms were asked which style they preferred, 50% of them said they like a combination of traditional and functional. Only 10% preferred functional, leaving 40% who want to see the traditional (reverse chronological) format.
How an organization will process your resume.
There has been a dramatic development in the job market. Employers, recruiters, and executive search firms are receiving hundreds of resumes for every job available. Competition is fierce, even for jobs on the top rungs of the corporate ladder. Jobs that were once considered recession-proof.
Today, 90% of medium to large-size organizations use electronic scanners to search for keywords; words that are industry-specific and even job-specific. If they are not found in a resume, it is quickly tossed. Smaller companies still use people to scan resumes, but these human scanners also look for those all-important keywords.
Most resumes, typically 95%, will be discarded in this initial review/scan. Those passing this review are evaluated to see if the candidate meets the minimum requirements. This is a competitive evaluation against all other resumes that made it through the initial review/scan. Typically, another 3% will be discarded at this step. Finally, the remaining resumes are evaluated in detail and the top candidates invited for an interview.
Only 1-2% of the resumes received will result in an interview!
It is crucial that your resume be prepared with the goal of passing all three levels of review.
What do hiring managers want to see in your resume?
Foremost, verifiable accomplishments; 88% of hiring managers polled listed this as the single most important thing they look for in a resume. Hiring managers also want to find answers to some key questions in your resume.
- Can this person fill my need? Even if your resume lists all of the required qualifications, if it’s not targeted to the specific company and opening, your qualifications could appear unrelated to the job. Customizing your resume to fit the specific position shows the hiring manager you are a perfect fit. One way to customize your resume is by using numbers. They will stand out in an ocean of words. For example, “Restructured operations to increase profit 27%.”
- Will this person remain with the company for a long time? It costs companies a lot of money to screen, interview, hire and train employees. If you have changed jobs frequently or have gaps in your employment, offer valid explanations, within your resume, for these career missteps. Hiring managers want someone who is committed to the long term; not a short-timer.
- Is this person professional? The hiring manager judges your ability to communicate well and conduct yourself in a professional manner only by looking at a few sheets of paper; your resume. So make sure it is free of typos and grammatical errors and is easy to understand and travel through. In a recent survey, 76% of the hiring managers asked, said they discard resumes that have typos and grammatical errors. Hiring managers are busy and demanding people. They will eliminate you for the slightest infraction and they won’t call you for explanations.
How a recruiter will process your resume.
Recruiters and executive search firms weed out candidates not suited to their clients’ positions. They look at resumes for only a few seconds before deciding which get discarded and which get marketed. Recruiters and executive search firms want a resume that looks good and is easy to read. They also look for:
- Common job titles like CEO, COO, CFO, CIO, Operations Manager and Human Resources Director
- Educational titles; i.e., MBA, JD, CPA and BS
- Brand names (well-known companies you have worked for; schools from which you graduated)
- Dates that tell them how often you have switched jobs and how long you stayed in each particular employment situation
- Characteristics and skills that highlight the special talents you have acquired and in which corporate areas your experience is heaviest
- Sound-bites; quick, action-oriented paragraphs and statements that describe actions you’ve taken and the results of those actions
Remember, recruiters and executive search firms use resumes to screen out candidates more than to find candidates. They will not waste time trying to uncover critical facts in your resume. They must see them in the first few seconds of picking up your resume or it will immediately be discarded.
Recruiters and executive search firms also want to know personal information about you in order to better market you to employers, such as marital status, age, leisure activities, etc. However, this information should be provided to them outside of your resume. Personal information should not be in your resume.
What is a resume factory?
Some resume writing companies develop resumes from templates. They have clerical staffs who use the templates to write resumes, and hence can offer low cost. While this does get a resume written quickly, it depends on a template to express who you are and what you can do for a company. The results? An uninteresting and ineffective resume – typical of what organizations and recruiters see day in and day out.
What is a resume rewrite?
A resume writing organization may take your existing resume and reformat it for you. This is a rewrite. It doesn’t add anything to your resume. It reorganizes the existing information into a more pleasing format. Usually, this is only cosmetic. Remember, content is the key to getting interviews.
How do ethical, professional resume writers work?
Resume writing is indeed a profession – with standards, education, and certifications. Professional resume writers stay current with developments in the employment field.
For example, a Branding Statement has become expected as the leading element in a resume. Without this Branding Statement, a resume will be less effective. This is only one example of items you need in your resume that a professional resume writer will automatically provide.
Also, professional resume writers will work directly with you. They will not subcontract your resume to unqualified persons. They will take the time to get to know you through questionnaires and telephone discussions.
They will be able to uncover information about you that will be extremely effective in developing your resume. Information you might not remember to mention or think is important. They are truly consultants in presenting you to the marketplace you target for the job you want.
What is the value of an average resume versus an excellent resume?
An average resume is a listing of your contact data, job history and responsibilities. It’s a professional obituary. Like an obituary, it will be Dead On Arrival. It will not get you interviews. And it will guarantee your job hunt will be a long and frustrating journey.
A recent study reported that the typical job search for an executive or professional is about 38 weeks. That’s because the 100-plus candidates for every available job have submitted average resumes. They all look alike. Average resumes jam the circular file.
An excellent resume will significantly reduce your job search time. It will position you as a prime candidate for the job you want. It will get you interviews. If you don’t send an excellent resume… one that SEPARATES YOU FROM THE HERD… your phone simply won’t ring.
Think about it. If your professionally written…excellent resume…cuts your job search by just one month, it could put thousands of dollars in your pocket.
How do I choose a professional resume writer?
Interview more than one. Just as you would any professional service. Consider their credentials. Are they Certified Professional Resume Writers? What is their experience in your field? Do they understand your specific needs? Do they take the time to get to know you? Will they give you the personal attention you deserve?
Then, choose a Certified Professional Resume Writer who knows your profession and your marketplace. Understands what you need. Takes the time to learn about what you have achieved and what you want to accomplish. And gives you personal, one-on-one attention.
Contact Me (no obligation)
I would be pleased to talk with you about your career and job objectives and review your existing resume for you at no cost or obligation. This would be a good way to determine how I can best help you.
I invite you to contact me by any of the convenient options below:
I look forward to hearing from you.
Sue, Bryan Norman here – the guy from Detroit that you crafted a resume for early last year. Just wanted to update you.
I recently accepted a job in Columbus at inChord (near Polaris Mall) as a Brand Voice Writer on a healthcare account, making 40% more than at my previous job in Detroit plus I am closer to my family.
So many, many thanks to you and the dynamite resume I was proud to have my name on.
Bryan Norman, Detroit, MI
Sue, I recommend you whenever someone asks. I did get a job right after we worked together. Now I am wrapping up that experience and about to go out on my own. I’m doing due diligence to document everything from this experience in the same manner as the previous positions, based on the questionnaire you gave me. The experience with you was super. Thanks!
Miguel Jimenez, Chicago, IL
Hi Sue, I am happy to say that I think the resume and letter of intent look great. I do not have any major revisions for you at this time. If I have any needs for adding things in the future, do you have any kind of return customer options? Just thinking about down the road if I would change jobs or when it’s time to apply as a NP!
Thank you again for all your help, you are super professional and I would refer anyone needing help with a great resume.
Will Larsen, Reno, NV
Sue, Wow! I didn’t know just how much better you would make these! Thank You.
Gary Dennison, Minneapolis, MN