Is your resume too long? Too short? Are you giving away too much information?
Building the Perfect Resume
This is a topic everyone seems to have an opinion on and there is no right or wrong answer. You must have enough content to ensure the reader gets a good illustration of your expertise and you sell yourself well, without overwhelming or boring them. In most cases your resume will get a maximum of 30 seconds to impress, so you need to grab their attention and hold it in the first ½ page of your resume.
My opinion and experience are that a one-page resume is for a junior-level job seeker or a recent college graduate with little work experience. Once you have hit mid-senior level, your resume should be around two pages. Executive level can go up to three pages, but that should really be the maximum. I have seen 13-15-page resumes and there is no reason to have that much content. You are not writing a book or your autobiography; your goal is to entice them to want more information.
The purpose of your resume is to get you an interview, which is where you can dive into your experience in-depth. If you tell them everything in your resume, they don’t need to interview you because they already know everything about you!
Here are some questions to ask yourself about your resume, and some tips to make it:
- Does your resume accurately depict and sell your skills?
- Are you selling yourself well without overloading the reader? (I find my clients truly have a difficult time selling themselves properly and it’s helpful to have a “professional outsider” help).
- Is your resume concise and precise?
- Have you showcased your quantifiable accomplishments? Do you define what sets you apart from your colleagues applying for the same jobs?
- Is your resume redundant? You should not copy and paste the same duty bullets throughout every job in your work history. Show that you put a little effort and thought into your resume.
- Your resume should not go back more than 10 years. Most of those skills are either irrelevant, out of date, or have progressed throughout your resume anyway. You can just list the work history with company name, title and dates if it’s past 10 years.
- Do NOT have a laundry list of EVERY duty you perform daily or list EVERY project you have ever led. You want to leave some things out to discuss in an interview.
- Your duties should be in a bullet format for easy reading. Is your font size at least 10 point and do you have some white space?
- Don’t get too wordy or have too many describing adjectives.
- You should start each bullet with an action verb for that duty. You do not need unnecessary words such as “responsible for…” or “performed duties such as…”. This takes valuable real estate that could be used in a more productive way.