Résumés – Are You Lost? Here Are Some Clues

As a follow up to my post “Resumes-Are You Lost?” I received some great comments. When I wrote the post it was more of a humorous look at resumes and the confusion around them.

Being confused about resume is part of looking for a job. There is no magic bullet when it comes to resume writing.

Chris Osborn wrote the following:

Does the advice help tell your story? For instance, does the advice relate to something significant in your background or qualifications that might help market you for the sort of role you seek? If the answer is “yes”, then I suggest following the advice. If the advice is more about format or the style of the resume, I suggest polite listening, and then take only the advice that makes intuitive sense to YOU.

It is your resume, so you need to own it. After all, you are the person who has to deliver the goods in an interview or networking meeting.

So – my advice (and take only what you want!) is to:

1. Tell your story. Make sure the resume makes the statement you want to make about your qualifications for the targeted opportunity.
2. Make sure your resume shows how and what sort of value you can add in your next role.
3. Use the stories you would most want to tell during an interview as guides for accomplishments.

Lui Sieh wrote the following:

The lesson(s) is that “our story” is complicated and so we’ll need to have different versions of it. I frequently had 2-3 resumes depending on the audience and my target role. For headhunters, it’s about the “key words” – because that’s how the HR system works. For personal networking with potential hiring managers, it was more about the experience and the story should fit more to how they would like to know/read about your story. Sometimes, I had to ‘dumb down’ my resume as well – just to get in the door.

To summarize…Resumes are about your “Brand”. Focus on what your strengths are and try to create a story about yourself. With this approach, your accomplishments, capabilities, and talents yield a resume that is very focused and direct. In today’s job market, that is extremely important because of the exact and specific requirements of the jobs available.

Good luck…

Résumés – Are You Lost?

Wikipedia DefinitionA résumé is a document that contains a summary or listing of relevant job experience and education. The résumé or CV is typically the first item that a potential employer encounters regarding the job seeker and is typically used to screen applicants, often followed by an interview, when seeking employment.

A Curriculum Vitae (loosely translated as course of life) provides an overview of a person’s life and qualifications. It differs from a résumé in that it is appropriate for academic or medical careers and is far more comprehensive. A CV elaborates on education to a greater degree than a résumé. A résumé is tailor-made according to the post applied for. It is job-oriented and goal specific. One of the key characteristics of a proper résumé is conciseness. 

(Definitions pulled from Wikipedia)

Those of you that read my blog know that I have been out of work since September 2008. During this time I have met with or consulted with a variety of professionals: large scale recruiters, boutique recruiters, career coaches, life coaches, outplacement counselors, professional résumé writers, human resource professionals, etc. It is interesting to hear each professional’s take on what the resume format should be.

Here is a short list items that have been said to me – in no particular order:

  1. Keep your resume to 1 page
  2. Keep your resume to 2 pages
  3. Senior executives should summarize on their resume
  4. Use details to convey your accomplishments
  5. Use bullets points
  6. Don’t use bullet points
  7. Use dates sparingly
  8. Use dates where you can
  9. Have a summary statement that is eye catching
  10. Don’t use a summary statement it is out dated
  11. Use tag words to pop up on searches
  12. Don’t use too many buzz words
  13. Quantify and qualify your work experience and its impact to business
  14. Use hard numbers
  15. Don’t use specific numbers
  16. Use more business jargon
  17. Your experiences should be painted in broad strokes
  18. Be creative
  19. Take chances
  20. Resumes should convey “Shock and Awe” (This is my favorite)

See what I mean? It is confusing. I have revamped (totally overhauled) my resume several times based on the advice I was given. Honestly, while I have been around for sometime and have years of experience under my belt there are only so many ways to say something.

With millions of Americans out of work and the only thing to represent you is an 8-1/2 x 11 piece of papyrus, what should the resume format and message be? If the professionals cannot come to a consensus, how is the average Joe/Jane suppose to know?

Is the resume out-dated in these times?