This is a guest post by Howie Appel, Executive Director of ProNet Career Resources.
The three common horror stories I hear are:
- 12 people have helped me with my resume and I’m STILL not getting interviews…what now?
- I spent over a $1000 on my resume last month and no interviews came as a result of my meeting with a “professional”.
- I wrote my resume because I know my self!! I had mom, dad, brother, and sister along with Uncle Joe review it and they said it was fine….how come no interviews?
People approach me all the time with these questions and I felt that it’s “high time” to give you my thoughts as to why these events are not leading to a new position.
Number 1: relates to both biases and opinions. These 12 people…what are their backgrounds? Have they done recruiting? Have they reviewed and revamped resumes for a long time? Have they “read up” on the latest trends in resume construction? I have read article after article on peoples’ attitudes toward resumes. In all honesty, the only ones that make sense are those who have engaged in the actual work of recruiting. If all of these people have been in this field, then chances are, most of their suggestions should be similar.
Number 2: relates to those, again, who claim to be “close” to Human Resource recruiters. They may, indeed, have their credentials and feel that the time they spent and the monies they spent to get their certifications enables them to justifiably charge this type of money. That’s a hard “pill to swallow” in this economy. Many resume writers are coming down in their prices. Some even do it for free. Bear in mind the old saying, “you get what you pay for”. I’ll cover that in the next paragraph.
Number 3: finally, relates to having a resume reviewed and revamped for free. It’s not costing you anything, so why not? Again, the concept is simple, if the person with whom you’re dealing is knowledgeable in the current practices and what should and should not be on a resume and they opt to rewrite yours for free….then good luck….my guess is that they will help you by ensuring there are no typos or other “red flags”. They have no “stake” in your future, they are just trying to help…..and that is completely understandable. Many come to me and say, after much frustration, my spouse looked at this and said it was fine. I went line by line, only to find various “red flags” which were pointed out.
This is your resume. It needs to portray you. One typographical error could separate you from your peer who opted to spend some money and have a professional review it. What does it take? It takes the formulation of phrases, it takes a first and second draft. It also takes open-mindedness on your part. It takes accepting the fact that some terms are old and should not be used. One should never give a resume to a writer and say”do your stuff and then get back to me”. Collaboration is the key here. If you do not have MAJOR input into the making and building of your personal portfolio, then it is not yours but that of the writer.
In the interview, you will be tested on every word on the resume. If you felt comfortable that the writer knows what they’re talking about, then good….but is he/she coming to the interview with you? Horrible things can happen if you leave out vital information that could lead to your being a “notch” higher than your competition.
Resumes must be chronological in that the reviewer wants to know where, when, what, and how. They want to see quantitative information. They want to see action verbs. Finally, they want to test your memory and your knowledge of yourself. Does that sound weird? No, it is just that you must tell the recruiter/hiring manager about yourself using short, succinct and action phrases that will make him want to know more.
How long should your resume be? Obviously, it depends on YOU!! Here are some general rules of “thumb”: Recent college graduates need only assemble one page. College graduates with 10 years experience need a 2 page resume. Have a Masters degree? You will probably short circuit yourself with a 2 page resume. Font should always be 12 font….I don’t want to take out a magnifying glass and then a microscope to read the resume….I’ll just pass and move onto the next one.
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Howie is the Executive Director of ProNet Career Resources, Inc. He has been a corporate and agency recruiter for 25 years. A member of the CFEC Resume Critiquing Team at their Job Fairs, he is also an expert resume writer with a passion for helping succeed in their search for the position they desire..