Everyone I know agonizes over what is on their resume because we all know if it’s not perfect, you may not get a call from a recruiter. This constant process of gathering feedback, from peers and experts alike, can make the job search confusing before you even start.
As a job seeker, you only want to consider one thing when you write the resume: the reader. The reader isn’t the evil applicant tracking system that throws out your resume through some algorithm. The reader is a real, live person who is likely 25-35 and recruiting is their first job into Human Resources. They may or may not like their job. You don’t care either way. Your task is to make it easy for them to underhand what you do, what your accomplishment are and wrap it up in 1-2 pages at most.
Trust me, I’ve read my share of resumes.
In the last four years, I’ve averaged between 20-35 open technical jobs that I was responsible for filling. In each req, I selected between 5-10 candidates at the max to interview and put forward.
This equated to between 200 and 350 people I spoke to – a week. Not to mention every hiring manager I spoke to and had to update weekly.
Over a year, this equals 16,800 resumes. And those were the ones that I selected, and not counting the countless I declined.
So, take it from me, here are the five things that you want to drop off your resume, if you haven’t already:
1) Four different fonts
The human eye is a funny thing tied to a mind. Studies show that recruiters look at only three things, then move to the next set of bullets. They look at title, company, how long you were at the job. If you have several different fonts on the page this causes the reader to have to re-read sections of the resume again – if you are lucky. If you aren’t lucky, they have moved onto the next candidate.
2) References Given Upon Request
You can drop that at the bottom. We know and will ask you for references if we decide to give you an offer.
3) Long, boring bullet points
Here’s a good rule of thumb. If a sixth grader can read your resume and understand what you do for a living or the gist of it, even a non-technical recruiter will understand. Add punchy bullets with accomplishment statements woven into the tasks you did at work. Balance the resume with task and accomplishments in a simple format.
4) Funny or odd email addresses or worse – your companies email address
It’s a job search. Be professional. The worst I have ever seen was by a job seeker with an email address ‘monkeyplay’. Enough said.
5) Industry or Company Jargon
The reader won’t know if you belonged to the “Tiger Team’ on the “Eagle Project”. Be safe and drop anything that is an industry acronym, and if you must use it, spell it out in parenthesis.
Job seekers often write too much (and never too little) out of fear. They are afraid if they don’t put every little detail down in the resume, they won’t get a call to interview. This approach often backfires.
Consider this: If you put your resume ‘out there’ for thirty days and no one responds, stop sending it. Give it time. Chances are what you wrote on your resume works just fine, but know when it’s time to pull the document and refresh it.