Friday, April 10, 2009

In the World of Resumes - Less Is More

On the surface it seems that a resume should be loaded with information, especially if you are at the executive level. A common trap people fall into is thinking that all history, achievement and experience must be included on the resume to properly showcase their accomplishments. While much of this information is important, when you get to the executive level it is understood that all such candidates have an impressive employment history. Therefore, it is not necessary or advisable to mention everything you ever did.

Brief, Direct and to the Point
Most resumes, including those at the executive level, should be short and to the point. A resume is like an advertisement, and ought to cause the reader to want to know more about the “product.” Resumes must contain the most pertinent information and key words related to positions previously held and currently desired. However, the one page rule still exists. If you can possibly get your resume to one page, then do so. A two page resume is acceptable if absolutely necessary, but refraining from multiple pages continues to be best practice. Your potential employer is reviewing many resumes and if yours looks like too much work to read, there is a chance it will be set aside. No one wants a laborious resume to read. Smart executives will make their resume short but replete with the right information.

Be Job Specific
It almost goes without saying that important elements of a resume include not only the length, but content. Consider the job for which you are applying. What skills, tools and behaviors do you possess that specifically relate to that job? If the skill or experience does not directly apply to the position, it does not need to be included. This means that your resume must be different for each job to which you apply.

Sell, Sell, Sell
It is still important to remember that this is the ultimate sales opportunity. Look at yourself like a product. Select your best attributes and salt those into to your resume. This will ensure that only the very best of your skills, tools, knowledge and experience make it onto the resume. It is good to include skills and experience that is common to most executive level positions. Make yourself distinctive from others. Why should the employer remember you? Why should they call you and not the next person? You may want to talk to a former boss or some of your friends for feedback in this area. It can be helpful as well as enlightening.

In Summary
Brevity is appreciated by the reader and keeps a resume focused. It can make the difference between a resume being read favorably or not at all. After creating your resume, read through it and look for places to slice and shorten phrases by using more precise terms. Look for information that seems superfluous. The effort to shorten a resume, and the subtle use of key words for the position desired, will be rewarded, and help you get an interview and the job.