Friday, July 15, 2011

Resume: A New Day

I've kept my blog to the light-hearted and superficial, but it's an outlet for me and I haven't posted in awhile and figure if my comments may help someone, I may as well do this.

I'm not in a leadership position and typically not involved in hiring decisions, but am slightly OCD and have worked in IT recruiting in the past.  Recently, I had the opportunity to review some resumes and I figured I'd jot some tips down.  I tried not to get too cliché with these, but some still happen so often I had to include them.
  1. Keep your resume up to date and redo it for your current search.  I'm not talking about tailoring it for each position, although you should do that too.  I'm talking about the format and sections.  What made a great resume ten years ago does not necessarily stand out anymore.  Furthermore, if I can tell that you haven't revamped the format in ten years, it displays either laziness or apathy and neither of those help land jobs.  Search google and see what the trends are.  I went through and looked at mine and realized it was so five years ago.  I had an objective, eliminated it, and have kind of brought it back with a professional summary.  Another example is buzzwords.  Make sure these are current.  Nothing makes your resume scream"1999" louder than using terms like "results-driven" and "self-starter".
  2. One page resumes have gone the way of the Beta.  No one cares anymore.  Technology has changed the game.  I can rapidly search for a technical keyword and find it each time it occurs.  While you should have something to grab attention on the first page, if you say you have 25 years of project management, I want to see documentation of it and where there may have been breaks.  If you can get 25 years of experience on one page, that's either going to be some awfully tiny, unreadable font or some really long projects that lacked depth.
  3. Another example of technology changing the game is spelling, grammar, and formatting consistency.  I understand mistakes do happen, but there is no excuse to have a bunch of squiggly lines when the resume is opened up unless if it's proper nouns or acronyms.  My other pet peeve along with this is grammar and formatting consistency.  While it is appropriate to have your current duties be in present tense and things you've done to be in past tense, this should not vary section to section or point to point.  I also notice if you have ten different fonts on your resume and they are of different sizes and it's not a heading.  Pay attention to the little things.  Sadly, this still happens frequently even though it's posted on nearly every resume tip site there is.
  4. Don't include things that make the employer uncomfortable.  Unless if it has something directly tied to your professional experience, don't put something that if they were to hire or not hire you for the position could be construed as discrimination.  This includes photos, religious or political affiliations, etc.  Photos are used in certain fields, so if you're in one of those, disregard this advice.
  5. I can't stress accuracy enough.  Make sure to update and read through every part, each time.  That way you don't miss something that goes, I am presently working on XYZ project and the date listed is 1995 and I see you've worked at two other companies since then.  Mistakes happen; I get it, but at least know to look for it ahead of time.
  6. Know your audience.  In IT recruiting, with the exception of graphic or web designers, no one cares about whitespace, but things needs to be logically organized.
  7. Keep it concise.  Bullet points highlight your skills and experience whereas paragraphs tend to get skimmed.  For IT, I want to see what you did, what technology you used, and any financial results it had, if any.  I don't need a verbose, syntactically correct paragraph structure typically.  There are a few exceptions.  Also do not mistake this with trying to cram your resume into one page.
I hope these are helpful.  Redoing my resume is not on the top of list for things I want to do, but if you need/want a new job, put every effort you can into making everything the best they can be.

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