Question Proposed on LinkedIn: Do you have any “rules for resumes?”
– I’ve found that with just these three commandments, my students can be in the top 10% of resumes: 1. Thou Shalt Know Your Narrative, 2. Thou Shalt Have a Skimmable Resume, 3. Thou Shalt Highlight Accomplishments, Not Duties.
– Thanks for the post, Matthew. The first mistake Eric made was applying for hundreds of jobs. If he had stuck to working on just 2 or possibly 3 job leads at a time, he would have had time and energy to properly research the openings he was after, to create a really good résumé and prepare properly for the interview. He would also have been able to network with key people in the target organisations.
– Hey Rupert, I agree that Eric was already taking the wrong approach from the start… as Career Consultants, we know that a targeted job search is more effective.One great thing I think came out of his job search is simply the numbers he was able to provide in terms of the sheer amount of applicants. Just knowing those numbers is enough to convince most job seekers that the “spray and pray” approach to the job search is doomed to fail.
– I work with many recruiters and I was shocked to find so many resumes are riddled with spelling and grammatical errors. If there’s stiff competition I don’t care how good your skills are, you’re not going to be considered if the resume is filled with errors. Also, functional resumes with Highlights of Qualifications at the top is the best way to bring attention to skills and accomplishments.
– I think that grammar and spelling is a prerequesite to even being considered. I’ve interviewed a few recruiters and hiring managers who view functional resumes as a red flag indicating that there’s something the applicant is trying to hide.
– Just the opposite. I’ve found that they like the functional resume and also appreciate getting a professional bio along with the functional resume. The only exception to this is the finance industry. They’re the ones who still prefer the old chronological style.
– Sloppy spelling and grammar implies sloppy work habits – not likely to impress any employer!Re functional vs chronological résumés, I recommend using a chronological one if the knowledge and skills required for the new position have been demonstrated in recent employment. If, however, the job seeker is making a career shift, then a functional résumé highlighting the knowledge and skills requisite for the new position is more likely to be shortlisted. I should add that my functional résumés are technically hybrids because I recommend a section on career history immediately after the skills and achievement section. I know that this works in Australia because my clients get the jobs they are after.More details in my forthcoming book “How to Get a Good Job After 50” being released in e-book form in January and in hard copy in March.
– I agree that the “spray and pray” approach to applications is indeed doomed to failure, today’s savvy recruiters can spot a generic CV a mile away, don’t get me started on generic cover letters !!Searching for the right job seems to be viewed by many as a lottery , as in the more CV’s you send out the more “tickets” you have.Hybrid CV’s work well here in New Zealand, in my experience, functional only versions seems to leave employers wondering, they definitely still want to see the chronological work history section in there.
– Many people have the misconception that a functional resume doesn’t list work experience. It definitely does, but it’s at the bottom of the page and the Highlights of Qualifications are at the top. There’s a lot more about this in my book, Get The Job You Love.
– Keep it short and simple to read on the hiring manager’s eyes. Make sure the marketing major recruiter knows what you did; don’t just cater it for the technical hiring managers. Spelling and grammar are important. Limit prepositional phrases. Quantifiers work best for your sentences (ways you impacted the bottom line) while tying in a duty to the sentence. No more than 8 bullets under each job. Don’t lie. Eliminate the fluff.