IS YOUR RESUME SIMPLY YOUR JOB DESCRIPTION?
Updated: Jun 26
Is your resume a list of job responsibilities from a current or previous role, or is it a compelling description of how your experience and skills align with the employer’s needs? If you want to encourage the recruiter to put your resume in the ‘yes, will read'’ pile, pay attention to what you include. Suppose your resume gets through the initial software screening process. In that case, humans will spend approximately 6-10 seconds determining if your resume is worth looking at further.
GENERAL BEST PRACTICES
Avoid resume templates because these do not allow you to target the resume to the job.
You do not have to list every job you have ever held.
Limit your resume to two pages. Even folks with several years of experience can do this. Speaking of how far to go back in listing your experiences, limit it to 15 years. If you are applying for a senior VP or C-suite role, it will be acceptable to include positions going back to 20 years (however, try to avoid this).
Do not include reference names. These should be provided once employers have requested them. If required as part of the application process, list contacts (3-5) on a separate sheet and provide their names, relationships to you, phone numbers, and email addresses. Of course, obtain permission from the references first.
Format properly for ATS software screening – templates generally do not allow this.
Check for repetition and needless use of filler phrases, including ‘in order to.’
Avoid adjectives like ‘successfully.’ It should be clear anything listed means you were successful.
Use bullet points to highlight experiences and, when possible, include quantifiable results.
Exclude your street address (this information is too personal).
Include your LinkedIn profile URL. If you do not have one, create a profile since it is crucial for a job search these days.
Focus on your achievements and successes relevant to the job.
Review the job description carefully. Try to view your resume from the hiring manager’s perspective. Does it tell them what you can do FOR them rather than providing a lengthy summary of minutiae and details?
If you were born outside of the US and have yet to work here, indicate your visa status so the employer knows you are authorized to work here and do not need to be sponsored. This is especially important if all your work experience is from outside of the US.
If you have graduated from school recently, list your education section first. Those who graduated more than three years ago should put their education section at the end (even if you attended a prestigious institution).
Only include GPA, extracurricular activities, and involvement if you have recently graduated.
This should not need to be stated but be truthful about everything you list. You WILL eventually be found out. The most important thing to remember is that resumes get you the interview, not the job. Your interviewing skills will get you the job.