Resume Refreshers

Remember the donkey in the movie Shrek? He kept jumping up to get attention, shouting, “Ooh, pick me! Pick me!” If only your resume had the ability to jump up and shout, “Pick me!” too. One of our candidates who was recently seeking a management position asked for some resume refreshers that would get his resume more attention. The answers we gave to his questions might also guide you toward crafting a more effective resume:

Q: Should I put an objective at the top of my resume?

A: Probably not. It’s likely that the Human Resources employee screening your resume is looking for specific keywords and topics. You may have great qualifications, but if the resume screener judges that your stated objective is not exactly in line with what the hiring manager is looking for, your resume may be rejected before your qualifications are even considered.

Q: Should I sprinkle some of my accomplishments throughout each employment section of my resume?

A: It depends upon your experience in your field. If you’re a veteran, a more effective way to quickly get your resume read is to start off briefly with what you can do and what you have done. Begin with a short paragraph with dynamic verbs that demonstrate your career roles and top abilities. Perhaps you’ve led projects, innovated new products, or managed a sales team. Then support your statements with a bullet-point list of several quantifiable key accomplishments from your career history. For example, “Increased productivity by 30%,” “Patented 8 new products,” or “Exceeded sales goal by $52K in first year.”

Q: Where should I list my education?

A: Put it at the very end of your resume. Because you are highly experienced and very qualified, anyone reading your resume will assume you already have the right educational credentials. If your qualifications catch the resume screener’s interest and education is important for this position (for example, a research job), he or she will spend the extra time looking for and reading up on your education. An exception might be if you know the hiring manager is an alumnus of the same school you attended. If you think it might give you an edge, you could slip in a mention toward the top. However, expect to be considered on your merits, not the school you mutually attended.

Q: Will including a photo of myself increase my chances of getting the job?

A: We generally advise that you do not put a photo on your resume. The hiring manager and/or HR staff should evaluate you only on your qualifications, experience, and fit, not your looks, age, stature, race, or gender. Including a photo can be more of a hindrance than a help. The time for an employer to meet you face to face is in your first in-person interview.

Q: How long should my resume be?

A: We used to advise people that a one-page resume is best, and we still believe that brevity is your friend. Remember that a resume screener will look at your resume for less than thirty seconds (some experts even say seven seconds!) to either disqualify it or pass it on for further consideration. This is why it’s important to put a bulleted list of your most marketable accomplishments in the top half of your resume’s first page.

However, we agree with “The new guideline is: A resume should be long enough to entice hiring managers to call you for job interviews. That may sound vague, but there is no hard-and-fast resume length rule that works for everyone. Factors to consider include career objective, occupation, industry, years of experience, number of employers, scope of accomplishments and education/training.”

Monster advocates using a two-page resume if you have ten or more years of experience in the field you’re pursuing, or if you have a lot of engineering or technical skills to include. Three pages are okay if you’re applying for a senior management role. Either way, lead your resume with your key credentials or accomplishments as discussed above in order to capture the attention of the person screening your resume.

Whether they’re recruiters working for a staffing agency such as Amtec or HR staff at a company, resume screeners are under a lot of pressure to quickly find the best candidates. You can make their job easier! Before applying for a new job, use these resume refreshers to brush up your best marketing tool so it can jump up and draw the attention your resume deserves.

Candidates, we now have offices in Portland, South Carolina, Reno, and Inland Empire/Orange County, California, with customers all over the United States who are looking for top professionals with well-rounded skills. If we don’t have the most current version of your resume, click here to post it, and visit our job board while you’re at it! You or a friend might be a good fit for one of our open positions.

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