A summary of your qualifications. Its not a book or article or any type of narrative. Resumes should be quick and easy to read. A little secret about reading resumes is that it takes less than a minute. Okay less than thirty seconds. Make it matter.
Going with the advice of not recreating the wheel, I found this blog post from Jeff Goins on what writers can learn from chefs. While he was discussing writing, his examples apply to a resume.
- Is your resume easy to skim, have bullet points? – a resume should not be paragraphs but rather blocks of information that are easily readable.
- Is it concise? – don’t pad a resume with flowery writing. Think Hemingway, not Faulkner.
- Is it neat? – this is not the time to try a new fun font. Stick with the traditional and with only one. Don’t mix and match. If your resume goes past three pages, that’s fine. Don’t try to cram it into fewer pages.
How Many Pages?
One page is fine if you are just out of high school or college or had one job. After that, you will need two to three pages to summarize your background. More than three pages is tricky. You don’t want to bore the reader, but don’t keep relevant information out. Earlier I gave an example of a sample resume. Follow that model to see how many pages it takes to complete a basic resume.
Don’t be afraid to tweak your resume. They are a work in progress. Let other people see and get their opinions. If you have family and friends in Human Resources, ask them to look at it. Recruiters see resumes everyday. Take advantage of their expertise. And be open to suggestions.
Next week, I’ll review job boards.