What is your resume supposed to do?
Resumes are important but they are not the most important part of your job search. A resume on its own will not get you a job. However, ensuring that your resume keeps the process moving is critical.
Typically people spend a lot of time creating resumes that they think will stand out. As someone who sees a lot of resumes, most of this time is wasted. Getting just the right spacing, fitting the most information possible on only two pages, using multiple distinctive fonts, clever indentations, underlines, bold, italics and more won’t help that much if the right information isn’t there or you don’t get your resume to the right person.
Think about it. There is a good chance that you’ve just spent hours and hours doing battle with Microsoft Word in order to align the dates for every position or make sure all of your bullet points match just so that you can copy and paste the resume into an online application that strips out all of your formatting anyways. That is not time well spent. No matter how you send your resume if the information on the first few lines isn’t applicable or relevant then most hiring managers and recruiters won’t finish reading it. We don’t have time.
As a headhunter, I am only interested in finding facts or figures that tell me if you can do the job I’m working on. In fact, perhaps like many headhunters and human resources people, I do this in reverse. The fastest way for me to process a candidate is to look for reasons why they don’t fulfill a particular need. It is not a judgment process. Someone may be a fantastic Manufacturing Engineer, but if I’m looking for a Commodity Manager, then the Manufacturing Engineer is most likely out. Per project or search, the process is binary, in or out.
Creating a resume that is easy to process and contains only the most relevant information means that people like me can find, harvest and apply what we need more quickly and efficiently. We like that. Conversely, a cluttered resume that includes too much or irrelevant information, omits dates or other facts requires too much time to process. A resume that is too long or difficult to read transfers work from the job seeker to the potential employer. Consider this, if you’re resume requires me or any other recruiter or hiring manager to work too hard to find the value or applicability, then we’re probably not going to do it. It’s your job as a candidate to do this work. You need to make it easy for us to see why we need you.
So what is your resume supposed to do? What are the most important resume modules? What information should be left off? What do hiring managers and recruiters need to see for you to get an interview?
If you don’t know the answers to these questions or are not sure, then you should read Modern Job Search. Be smart, don’t waste time sending out resumes that won’t move you forward.
(Photo: Route 66, near Amarillo, TX 2013)