It is probably not surprising to hear from a recruiter that a well laid out resume is number one "duh" in job sourcing for a candidate. This understated theory has repeated itself throughout our college days of trying to nail that first exciting new role, and there's always new takes on how to present yourself in the best light.
Yet Interestingly enough, I still run into on a consistent basis, a higher ratio of poorly executed resumes that do not make the cut. Or for that real matter, make it past the Email box of what an employer would consider, a "catch", a "runner", an "A candidate" to move forward. When I take the time to review such a resume, I see that given a second glance, the candidate could have been a possible top choice, but it was hidden under some very simple misguided resume blunders.
I had a Clinical Pharmacist once with over 10 years of actual, hearty experience. However, my clients made up an excuse not to even screen him with the decency of a call. I had to ask why? They were turned instantly off by his last role, which had the title VP over it. They put him in the "over-qualified" category.
Now this candidate had a story. He wanted to get back to a hands-on role. But no suitable pharmacy company would look past his resume, and in the end, they hired a new grad over his vast experience. It made me curious, so I asked him if you want a hands-on role, why the VP title? His reply, "well I wanted to showcase that". I went on to explain to him that unless he was looking for his next step up, to possibly something larger than a VP, it was not serving him well presently. He agreed and made the changes. He landed a role shortly after.
I am in a profession where it's not only my job to make you look presentable on paper but get you in the door for an interview. That way, you can bring yourself to life in the interview process and get that chance to have the clients fall in love with you. As a recruiter, I will also let you know when I think your resume could use a brush-up, a tweak, or a simplified new look. And I'm not afraid to call you out on items that look weird or out of place or ask you why there was a change in career pattern or time gap. Believe it or not, I do this so that you can succeed!
However, it's not always easy scanning and proofreading every resume that crosses me. What I see and what a prospective client sees can be vastly different. So, it's helpful to try and do the homework on your own first. Find more on How To Use Resume Keywords When Applying For Jobs.
Here are a few of my recent recommendations to help you put your best foot in the door:
Keep it relevant
Most employers in today's market are looking for candidates with relevant experience that is also recent. If you want a position as a car salesman, and all of your sales experience dates back ten years ago, you could easily get overlooked. But then how does one bring up to date those talents without lying or making yourself out to be someone you’re not?
I find the newer models of resume templates have a nifty feature where skills are generally at the top of the page and it will catch the eye of the beholder to read on a bit further. Also, determine what you're looking for on your career path, and choose those roles that highlight that first.
Less is more
Another latest issue is the length of a resume. While much can be debated whether it is important to add every single role, I have had candidates shoot me a five-page resume, and it is detailed to the point of exhaustion. There is no need for it truly.
Like many headhunters out there, I use the analogy of dating someone. When you are actively dating, the same law applies; less is more. Hit the highlights, make an impact with a phrase or two under each job title, and then let the client want to inquire more and fall in love once they actually meet you.
In dating, you may get a second chance, but this is not always the case on a piece of paper with your heart sprawled all over it. Generally, one to three phrases can cover it all. The client knows the keywords they are looking for. If they want to know how you,“Managed the daily reports for several facilities,” trust me they will ask you what system you used.
A lengthy resume can also date you. It has become increasingly difficult to outdo the next generation and be seen for what you bring to the table. Keep the resume to the last relevant 3-4 roles you held. You can always share the story of when you were that MVP at that legendary company on the face-to-face interview or once you've landed the role in the coffee room. Try to keep it on one to two pages’ maximum.
Stay up to date
Always be up to date on your resume, and keep it safe for easy review. Go online. See what the latest resumes and versions hold. Check other resumes in your industry. Have a friend proofread it for their opinion. Ask your recruiter if it looks good or needs any adjustments.
Lastly, my thoughts on colored resumes. Unless you are somehow in a profession that displays artistic values, i.e.; a designer or high-tech software engineer, photographer, leave the crayons alone. It's too busy and distracting. I like the latest templates that just highlight your name as a good stand-out touch.
Hope this helps you land that dream role!
For more info check out How To Write A Professional Resume.