Monday, February 17, 2014

Less Can Be More on Your Resume

By Susan Pines, Shy Job Seeker Blog  

More is not always better, especially on your resume. Many job seekers feel that listing all of their experience will show employers how much great work history they have. Job hunters picture HR staff and hiring managers studying every detail on their resume. But this is not the reality. First, with today’s automated resume tracking systems, your resume may never be seen by a human if it doesn’t contain the right key words for a job. Second, when resumes are looked at by employers, it’s done quickly because they have so many resumes to review. So if your resume is too long, too wordy, and too full of details, it will head straight to the trash.
Less Can Be More on Your Resume [Shy Job Seeker Blog]
Start cutting irrelevant information from your resume.

Unfortunately, I’ve talked with too many job seekers who can’t let go of their past work experience. It’s important to them. A few seemed indignant when I’ve suggested they drop old jobs and delete jobs that are not relevant to their desired occupation. Frankly, in today’s job market, many employers don’t care what you did 20 or 15 or even sometimes 10 years ago. They want to hire people who can do the job now and who have a relevant and proven background in the work that needs to be done. As a shy or introverted person, you may want to let your resume do the talking by including every detail of your past work life. But this is not a good approach.

If you taught tennis 10 years ago but want to get back into IT, tennis is not relevant. If you were a pet sitter 15 years ago, it shows you are dependable, but the job is not important if you have more recent work experience that shows reliability. If you worked in marketing three jobs ago and are now doing work that has nothing to do with marketing, the old job is clutter. 

Put yourself in an employer’s shoes and look at your resume with a fresh eye. Remember, the employer is harried. What do employers see when they look at your resume? Does your resume say (through numbers, action verbs, job-relevant terms, and key skills/background), “I can solve your problems! I can ease your pain! I can help you grow!” Or does it say, “Here’s my life history. I think it’s just fascinating.” If your resume gives the latter impression, it’s time to start cutting and combining.

Start by asking yourself these questions:

  • What first impression does my resume make?
  • What stands out on my resume to employers?
  • Does a quick glance of my resume give the impression that I’m a good candidate for the job?
  • Am I tailoring my resume for every job opening?
  • Does my resume show results through action verbs, numbers, percentages, and accomplishments?
  • Does my resume have a professional summary at the top that quickly explains my top skills and achievements?
  • Have I minimized or eliminated irrelevant experience? (If you need to include a job so you don’t create employment gaps, simply list the irrelevant job without additional detail or list the tasks and transferable skills that are relevant to the job you’re seeking.)
  • Do I have key words in my resume that match job ads and the types of skills employers will search for in a resume database?
  • Is my resume so long that even I’m tired of reading it?
  • Do my jobs go back 20 years or more—possibly before the HR person was born?
  • Is my resume free of spelling and punctuation errors? Am I sure?
Remember, on a resume, less can be more. By focusing on employer needs and how you meet them, you can shorten your resume and increase your chances of getting called for an interview.

Image courtesy of Keerati /

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