Ask 10 “experts” their opinion of your resume and you’ll get 10 different, often contradicting answers.
Some will tell you to include an ‘Objective’, others will tell you not to. Some will tell you to use a Functional style, others may tell you that it always has to be a Chronological style. Some will tell you to write your job responsibilities in detail, others will tell you to write only in short bullet points. Some will tell you to never go beyond one page, others will tell you that 4 or 5 pages are fine. For every “rule” you will find someone that will give you an opposing opinion. So who’s right, and who should you believe?
Good question! There are no easy answers. There is no ideal resume! Opinions on resumes are very subjective depending on who’s looking. That’s true of resume “experts” as well as hiring managers, recruiters, and HR professionals. A resume that is viewed as highly effective by one person may be seen as a poor representation of your career by someone else.
Many people that offer an opinion on a resume may be applying their ‘ideal’ based on their knowledge of a good resume for a particular field or industry. An excellent Information Technology resume format is probably a poor layout for a Graphic Artist. A good Accounting resume, would not be a good layout for a Sales Person to use, and so on. So what do you do?
Many people want to get professional help from a resume writer (professional CV writing) or career coach. That may, or may not be the right solution for you, but select carefully. If they are not working with you on the process collaboratively, find someone else. The process of creating your resume is as important as the resume itself! No one understands your accomplishments, work history, strengths, and weaknesses as well as you do. In order to present them effectively in a document, you have to be intimately involved in the process. Secondly, being asked a question about something on your resume in an interview and not being sure of what they are referring to is not the way to win a job. Finally, it’s important to modify your resume for every position you apply to in order to best highlight your most applicable experience. If you don’t fully understand the structure and thinking behind each section and line, it will be very difficult to make changes that blend well with the rest of the document.
You may decide that creating a resume on your own is the best solution for you. You may figure that the thought process of what goes on it will help you perform better in an interview, and you will certainly know everything that’s on it more intimately. So how do you go about it?
- Google sample resumes for your field (i.e. Accounting resume sample)
- Find online advice articles
- Ask opinions from recruiters, state job service representatives, networking contacts
- Decide for yourself what sounds right to you – you are the one responsible for the results
Create your resume, PROOFREAD IT 10 TIMES, and use it. If it gets you calls and interviews, it works. If it doesn’t get you a response, try again.
Are there any “best practices” at all? Of course. However, even a best general practice may need to be modified because of your specific circumstances. No two careers are exactly alike. There are some things to keep in mind though regarding how your resume is likely to be reviewed:
- An initial look is rarely more than 15-30 seconds-key points must jump out quickly
- Often it is only found through a keyword search-have the keywords on there
- If it’s only skimmed for 15-30 seconds, 5 pages won’t get seen
- If they don’t see the connection to the job, you won’t get a call
- If they can’t easily find your contact information, they will move on
Creating your “ideal” resume may be a difficult process for you, but the process has definite benefits in your job search. Take the time and get it right!