Looking for feedback on my work, I sent the exact same resume to 2 trusted recruiters and got the following 2 gut reactions:
“Great format but the writing could be more salesy.”
“Compelling content but the format is bland.”
The take home message: You can’t please everyone. That said, you can still win interviews from hiring managers whose resume preferences differ from your own. Just make sure you cover these “bases” within the first third of page one:
Steps to a Perfect Resume:
1. Be explicitly clear about the job you’re seeking. This necessarily doesn’t mean include the words “Objective: Blah Blah Blah.” There are plenty of other more tactful and contemporary ways of achieving this.
2. Include personality traits and work skills that convey to the hiring manager your ability to meet the job requirements. This can be accomplished in just a handful of carefully chosen words or bullet points. This piece can also help to address the keyword/scanning software issue.
3. List at least 2 or 3 tangible accomplishments early that make you look like a hot shot *and* directly relate to your target job. You can add these into a career summary or go with a shorter summary and get to “Job Experience” bullet points more quickly.
4. Do steps 1-3 in very clear and concise manner. When picking a format, think about directing the reader’s eye. Like a billboard, an effective resume should tell the reader what to read first, second, and third by the way it uses font size, boldface, rule lines, indenting, etc. Be deliberate about your format; it’s not just about picking a pretty template.
If you follow these guidelines and perfect your grammar, even the busiest, most opinionated, most critical hiring manager will keep reading your resume. They may disagree with your style but they’ll immediately ascertain your goal(s), personality fit, and value proposition.
In giving the hiring manager this information within 10-15 seconds, you are satisfying their need to make a preliminary decision quickly. They’ll thank you for it by continuing to read (and continuing to get to know you, if only on paper).
Stay on the BrightSide.