Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Your Resume: A Work In Progress

Your resume. Your professional life summed up in one or two pages. I have lost track of how many times I have fine tuned, polished and picked apart my resume. Every time I think I have it perfectly done, I will submit it to a resume writer, or read another article that speaks of including or doing everything I'm NOT doing in mine. To put personal interest or not (it allegedly can either make you approachable or make you sound amateurish), to include years enrolled or not (some say it will tell your age), to open with an objective or not (many claim that this is "fluff" and that recruiters feel that this screams rookie) ... the arguments are endless to do this or that.

There are approaches that advocate countless directions so what to do?
Polish it, fine tune it, read it over and over again, read your friends resumes, examine the job posting, research the company ... and then tailor your resume to what feel like YOU.

After years of getting the interviews I wanted (and some of which I wanted but didn't get) I can tell you this; get feedback. Often we are too close to our own resumes to really be objective. While I never used a resume writer, I did get their feedback. Often resume writers will provide you with critique if you ask for it, aiming to sell their services. A good resume writer sometimes cost up toward $500 (and more for execs) to rewrite your resume. Few can afford it, but if you can, I say do it. However, if you are a good writer and have good feedback, just keep tweaking your own. Invite feedback from your friends whose opinion you respect. People often don't want to critique someone's resume out of worry that it will offend the recipient. Let them know that you are looking for critique and welcome it. Trust me, suspend your defensiveness (even if you have slaved over that resume for months on end) and open yourself up to opinions. It will give you a whole new perspective.

FYI, I speak from experience: I recently landed an executive job with my dream company. It's another Fortune 500 company, but in an industry I'm fiercely passionate about. It took me months on end of tweaking my resume, but it paid off. It was a humbling experience at first. No matter how good you think your resume is, it will inevitably have to compete against several hundred others who also consider their excellent.

Remember that most recruiters and hiring managers get absolutely swamped with resumes for any good job. I recently received close to 200 resumes in one business week, for an entry level marketing position. Needless to say I was not able to read every resume I received, but I did scan through them and a few did catch my attention. The cookie cutter ones who read (and looked) like they had been taken out of a Word template did not make the cut. Beware of templates; they are widely recognized.

Imagine yourself a hiring manager ... what would get YOUR attention?

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I totally agree when it comes to the template issue. They are so obvious and lacking creative initiative. If a person can't even be creative enough to design their own resume how are they supposed to create something at my company?

Lisa V

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