Friday, June 04, 2010

Candidates - Effective Resumes

I have been a professional recruiter for 29 years and recently signed a contract with a publisher to publish my first book on finding a job in this economy. Over the years I have read over 400,000 resumes.

Back in the early 90’s I was timed by an assistant as I reviewed a stack of resumes. I created three piles of resumes – no, trash wasn’t one of them. However, Interested, Not Interested, and I’ll Take Another Look were. When I completed reading the resumes, my assistant told me that she timed me as I read each resume. Being from the East Coast originally, I asked her if I didn’t give her enough work that day. Her response was perfect. She said, “You hired me as a Junior Recruiter. I knew better than to ask how much time you spent on a resume so I timed you. What are those stacks?” I told her what each stack of resumes meant then asked what she found out. She said, “You spent as little as 2 seconds on a resume and those went into the Interested and Not Interested stacks. You spent as much as 12 seconds and those mostly went into the 'I’ll take another look and Not Interested stacks.' You averaged 6 seconds per resume."

Therefore, you have 6 seconds to get my attention – and that was almost 20 years ago. Hopefully I’ve improved on those numbers!

What am I looking for? Your impacts! What positive measurable impacts have you made? Your resume is your marketing piece. This is a time to trumpet your successes! Most managers have never been taught how to interview. Therefore, the information on your resume is mostly the basis of your interview. Use previous annual reviews if you need reminders.

The convention in resume writing is to write your resume in 3rd person past tense, even current experience, and drop the pronouns. There never should be an “I” in a resume. Always begin sentences with an action verb – Designed, Sold, Closed, Developed, Interfaced, Integrated, etc.

I suggest that you write your responsibilities in a paragraph format and bullet point impacts. You want your impacts to stand out, correct?

Good luck!