Developing a resume is typically one of the least enjoyable tasks when preparing to enter the job market. It is also one of the most critical.
Your resume must speak to your experience and record of accomplishment in a compelling manner when you are not present to speak for yourself.
A good candidate with a weak or mediocre resume typically will not advance in a search.
Here are some important points to consider:
You can no longer send the same resume to each job you pursue. An increasingly competitive job market requires candidates to take every possible step to differentiate themselves from the dozens of other candidates. You must customize the resume to address the specific needs of each prospective employer.
Quantifiable evidence of success only makes your candidacy more credible. In the past, employers paid more attention to a candidate’s professional history. Prior experience is still important but candidates must think in the language of this is what I have accomplished versus this is where I have been.
There are no firm rules as to the appropriate length of a resume with the exception of new graduates who have little or no relevant industry experience. In that case, a one-page resume is appropriate. However, executives with 20 or 30 years of experience should use two to three pages, more if there is a compelling reason. Some outplacement consultants argue that an executive’s resume should never exceed two pages. Retained recruiters typically want to see a resume that includes all relevant employment tenures. Our rule of thumb: The resume’s length should reflect a candidate’s years of experience and appropriate accomplishments.
Candidates should not confuse membership in a professional association with a professional credential: Joe Jones, ACHE. Moreover, the ACHE no longer uses the CHE – Certified Healthcare Executive – designation after an individual’s name: Joe Jones, CHE. It is logical for a recruiter to conclude that continued use of the CHE designation means the individual is not up to date. Candidates should not continue to use a professional credential if their membership or educational credits are not current. Most recruiters or employers will verify that information.
Candidates should avoid accomplishment creep, the process of exaggerating accomplishments, or taking sole credit for work that was actually accomplished by a team. Unfortunately, while some candidates no longer misrepresent their academic or professional credentials, accomplishment creep is more common. Candidates should be aggressive in establishing their record of accomplishment but there is a line that must not be crossed.
Place your name and page number on all subsequent pages of your resume.
Do NOT put your contact information in a header at the top of the resume. This can make it more difficult for Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) or recruiters using a manual system to quickly and efficiently “grab” your contact information to create a database.
On Friday we will publish an overview of what many executive recruiters say is an ideal resume.
The SelfPerspective team joins me in wishing you and your family a wonderful Thanksgiving.