Resumes - Less is More

Posted by:Whitridge in Technology Careers
19 November 2013 0

It’s common knowledge that Hiring Managers receive dozens, if not hundreds, of resumes for each job position they try to fill.  There are many ways to avoid having yours end up in the trash can (networking can be a huge help) but with or without connections your resume needs to ‘Wow’ everyone who sees it.  Your IT Staffing Recruiter can provide personalized advice tailored to you and the particular job to which you’re applying, and that is invaluable.  Additionally, here is some advice that may help you as you’re writing, editing, tailoring, and tweaking your resume.

Hiring Managers have a limited amount of time to spend on each resume (often seconds, sometimes a few short minutes), and no one wants to see a 5+ page resume.  As my friend’s college professor once said, “If you haven’t said it in the first few pages, I will assume you are incapable of saying it at all.”  If your resume is too long it will be skimmed (at best), and as such your exceptional skills, achievements, and experience will likely go unnoticed.  Chances are you have many skills in many areas, but the hiring manager will focus on the ones they see as potentially useful for their position.  Opt for the ‘less is more’ mindset and make sure every sentence, bullet point, and skill is essential information the Hiring Manager needs in order to recognize what a great candidate you are for their position.  Having several versions of your resume is a must, and ideally every resume you send out should be tailored to the particular position to which you are applying.  If you’re a Developer with experience in a plethora of programming languages, it’s OK to include ones that the job description doesn’t specifically mention, but make sure the focus of your resume matches the focus of the skills required.  If you’re a Business Analyst with experience in many sectors, think about which ones are most relevant for the particular position.

One common challenge applicants face is how to present several similar positions.  On the one hand it’s important to showcase the depth of your experience, and the numerous positions in which you used a specific technology or worked in a given industry; on the other hand, you don’t want to sound repetitive.  The best approach is to start by considering how relevant the experience is to the particular position to which you are applying.  If it’s not directly related, there is no need to mention it more than once (and if it’s not related at all, no need to mention it even once.)  If you feel it’s important, consider the different aspects of each job and the different ways in which you utilized the technology.  Adding a few words about the project in which you used the technology can help differentiate one job from another. 

Your resume is about you. Leave out extraneous information about the companies at which you worked.

As much as is reasonably possible, keep the structure of your bullet points consistent, preferably starting with a verb (“Provided,” “Developed,” “Created,” etc.)  Don’t throw in bullet points that simply list a technology or concept.  If you feel it’s relevant to list the applications you used in a given position, you can list them in an ‘Environment’ or ‘Tools’ section at the end of the bullet points… though be careful to list only the technologies you actually used.  If you’re uncertain about whether to list a particular technology, imagine an interviewer asking you a few basic questions about your knowledge of the program and how you used it.  If that thought makes you cringe, it’s best not to include the technology at all.

Keep the formatting simple.  Unless you’re applying for a job in graphic design, anything ‘fancy’ will merely detract from the content.

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, your resume is a way for the hiring manager to see a small glimpse of your work, giving them a sense of the level of quality (or lack thereof) they can expect from you as an employee.  There is no excuse for a sloppy resume.  If your resume has typographical errors, grammatical mistakes, or has not been proofread carefully, think about the message you are sending to the hiring manager.  

Even the most fantastic resume will not guarantee you will get the job, but a resume that is well written, neatly formatted, thoroughly proofread, and appropriately concise will catch the eye of the hiring manager, which is no easy feat!