Making sure that you have a well written resume (or curriculum vitae) is always important. If you don’t take the time and trouble required to craft a good resume you will be sabotaging yourself. In fact, your resume or CV is likely to be one of the most important documents of your life; whether you write it yourself, or you have it written for you by a professional. Even in these days of the internet, social media, smart phones, etc., at some point you will still need a traditional resume or CV as you look for a job.
Almost every time we have read “draft” or “old” resumes, we have found the following problems:
Common Resume (or CV) Problems:
- It is almost always too long
- It doesn’t focus on what you can do for the new employer today in the job at hand
- It tends to give equal weight to ancient history with not enough emphasis on recent experience
- Insufficient focus on actual results achieved in the various job experiences described
- It does not state clearly up-front what the applicant is looking for job-wise and career-wise
If you spend time searching around online you will find hundreds if not thousands of resume and CV formats you can follow which are promoted by numerous self-proclaimed experts. Of course, it is always good to have a resume format that is pleasing to the eye. However, if you do not address the above five points while creating the content of your resume, the format won’t matter much.
What’s the best way to address these problems? Put yourself in the hiring manager’s shoes. They’ve advertised for a job and they’ve received 300 resumes.
- Do you think they’re going to read each one of them word for word? No, they don’t have time. They’re going to skim. So if yours is short, punchy, and has key points bolded, that’s what will catch their eye
- Your key points should be about what you can do for them, and how you can solve their problem
- Your most recent experience should be first – i.e., your work history should be in reverse chronological order
- You should talk about results and accomplishments that helped your last employer
- You should be clear about what you’re looking for in your career trajectory, so they have an idea of what they might do with you long term
With these points in mind, go look at your current resume? Does it need an update?