When it comes to writing your resume and cover letter, how do you know where to find the best advice? Who do you turn to? There are many differing opinions out there, and they aren't all good! Many online articles contain absolutes: “NEVER do this” or “ALWAYS do that.” I’m always skeptical of that type of advice, because so much of what you’d write in your resume depends on your unique situation. Job seekers frequently ask what they should include or abandon on their resume based on what they’ve been told by friends or recruiters. My answer is usually the same, “Well, it depends.” This is exactly what was discussed at The National Resume Writers’ Association (NRWA) conference last week — how there are really no absolutes in resume writing. There are too many things to consider with a client before saying never do something or always do another thing. Resume strategy is very complex, but there are things you can consider when confronted with a resume dilemma. First and foremost, consider the audience. The same resume might look very different, depending on whether it’s going to a recruiter, being emailed to a hiring manager, or being uploaded into an applicant tracking system (ATS). Then, think from the employer’s perspective. What you include in your resume shouldn’t be determined by what you want to say as much as what the employer needs to hear to justify hiring you. You might think a certain accomplishment of yours is really great, but ask yourself whether the employer cares about that before you include it. Finally, analyze the particulars of your strategy. Do you have a gap in employment you need to deal with? Are you transitioning from one field to another? Do you have weaknesses that you need to minimize? These things may influence how you apply the “rules” to your resume. So, how did the experts at the NRWA conference respond to common resume “rules”?
August 26, 2013