Your resume is the first touch point to an organization.
It is the very first impression you will make and it’s crucial that you spend time crafting the best possible resume. Even if you are well qualified for a position, you may completely miss out on that opportunity if you make even one minor mistake.
Over the past several years as a manager, I have vetted many resumes and I wanted to share a few pointers based on some of the mistakes that I’ve seen. More importantly, these are provided to help you really stand out among the crowd.
- Your resume shouldn’t be longer than 2 pages unless you have cured a number of diseases or been awarded several patents. What? Really? Well bully for you and your cancer curing eight page resume.
- Good writing is key. Alliteration is also a key. In fact, language is merely a key ring with many keys on it. (Note: metaphors have no place on a resume because they are stupid). Instead of “Strong communication, customer service, and organizational skills,” try “Strongly skilled in spreading significant discourse, stupendously servicing consumers, and surreptitiously squashing structural squabbles.”
- Be concise. (another key)
- The number of wild boars you’ve slain is an achievement worth noting because solid numbers really flesh out a resume. Also remember to use direct action verbs. Never say, “Participated in wild boar slayings for the honor of his lordship.” Recruiters will assume you were just a trumpet player or something and are a real pussy.
- Do not include any information regarding your personal life including marital status and hobbies. It’s not that recruiters don’t care but that’s what the NSA is for. Also, recruiters don’t care.
- Do include an objective at the top of your resume otherwise recruiters will have no way of identifying you as a person who is seeking a job of some sort.
- Recruiters and hiring managers love ninjas. Programming ninjas, accounting ninjas, office temp ninjas, etc. Never mind that ninjas were hired assassins who engaged in sabotage, espionage, and poisoned tipped dart spitting. Oh yeah, and they also murdered anyone for a few feudal coins. As long as you’re proficient in Ruby on Rails or U.S. GAAP accounting, any inclination towards mercenary-like violence will be overlooked.
- Stories sell. For example, your resume might convey a three act plot structure that shows how you transformed from an asshole Wall Street banker to an asshole ex-Wall Street banker with a multi-million dollar cinematic biography. Those are the kinds of heart warming stories that really build empathy and will get the recruiter and hiring manager on your side.
- Think outside the box — do you really need to present your work history in only reverse chronological order? Use multiple forward and reverse timelines that occasionally intersect with each other to really engage the recruiter. People loved Memento, especially those who didn’t understand it.
- Put your name on that freaking masterpiece.
I hope this helps. What am I saying? Of course this helps. Now go reach for the stars.