Have you looked at your resume lately? I mean, really looked at it? Have you ever imagined yourself in a potential employer’s shoes, looking at your resume, which is just one of a stack of resumes that could be four inches tall? And that’s just the resumes submitted for one job opening.
The average job opening will get somewhere in the neighborhood of 400 resumes. So I estimated the height of 400 resumes based on two pages per resume, which amounts to 800 sheets of paper, or roughly the height of just under two reams. This person has to fight his/her way through all that paper to find a single winning candidate. And when I say “fight,” I really mean “fight.”
Which means that your job, as a candidate for a position, is to make things as easy as possible for the potential employer. And employers really hate, with a capital “H,” resumes that look like too much work. Those are usually the first to go into the circular file.
In that spirit, employers aren’t fond of very tiny type, or very short margins. I have seen resumes set in eight-point fonts, because the candidate believed the old chestnut about keeping the resume to one page. I’ve seen resumes with barely a quarter-inch of margin space top, bottom, and sides, for the same reason.
If you don’t want to reduce the employer to tears, you need to give him/her a document she/he can read without a magnifying glass.
Another item to avoid: Long, drawn-out sentences. If your sentence goes longer than two lines on the resume, you need to break it up somehow. You need to squeeze that sentence of all unnecessary words as you would a sponge, down to its barest essentials. How many ideas does the sentence convey? If your answer is anything except “one,” your writing is in trouble. Have you used two or three words when you could have used just one? How about breaking the sentence into bullet points, for ease of reading?
And speaking of bullet points…
Have you used more than six bullet points at a time anywhere? If you’ve done that, you need to reconstruct your descriptions of accomplishments. If you provide a reader with more than six bullet points without some kind of break, she/he will become distracted and could lose sight of what you’re trying to convey. She/he might even get bored, and stop reading.
Your goal in writing that resume is to keep the employer reading. The only interruption should be when the employer decides to look for your phone number or email address. If you don’t make that resume the smoothest, most readable document ever, you’ve lost the battle. You want that employer to experience your resume as a description of why you’re the answer to their prayers.
That resume is the employer’s first glimpse of you. If you’re interviewing for most office jobs, you’re not going to show up wearing a dirty tee shirt and ripped jeans, are you? So why, then, are you not showing the same care with the writing of your resume? This should be a no-brainer, like wearing your best suit to a job interview.
It’s “just a resume,” you say? It’s much more than that, friends. It’s your future.
This post was originally published on an earlier date.
About the author
A professional writer all his life, Jack Mulcahy started his career writing articles, corporate newsletters, marketing materials, and short fiction stories for various newspapers, magazines, and other publications. Jack combines expert interviewing, writing, and design skills to develop strong personal branding statements, LinkedIn profiles, high-performance resumes, and attention-getting cover letters that empower clients to showcase their skill set, value, and competitive edge by not only earning interviews through their resumes, but by elevating their self-confidence, interview skills, and ultimate employability and salary potential.
Disclosure: This post is sponsored by a CAREEREALISM-approved expert. You can learn more about expert posts here.
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