Resumés, etc.

The Most Common Resumé Advice I Give on Reddit

Nearly everyday on Reddit, I address numerous postings for students and professionals who have applied to endless companies with no response.

Sometimes, my answer is that they either have (1) a bad resumé format; or (2) they have little to no experience, which means their resumé format should be reworked – see (1). For those individuals, I’ve decided to share a downloadable and editable Google doc version in the hope that it helps those struggling with formatting issues. Hopefully many will find this useful.

For others, I’ve collected the most common resumé advice I give to job seekers on Reddit.

Be More Precise. Too often resumés come to me with vague descriptions, like “Was salesperson in SaaS group.” While this may be true, push yourself to be more precise. What is the “top salesperson” denotation measured by? How many individuals are on the SaaS team? By what amount did you perform better than others on the team? For what period of time? Taking these into account, your description becomes something like: “Grossed highest sales in 25-member SaaS group for 2 years consecutively and improved SaaS team’s sales by 20%.” See the improvement? Don’t be afraid to bold the metrics throughout the resumé.

Describe Your Impact. I see many critiques pushing for “achievements” in a resumé, which is often confusing to many who don’t have metric-based roles or don’t quantify their responsibilities. Instead, focus on your impact. Describe how your work on a project significantly impacted the company, role, or the team. Add that you were Employee of the Year in 2015 for developing an algorithm for improving the efficiency of incoming customer service ticket sorting and organization. The awards and achievements can be a separate section in the resumé or within experience descriptions, depending on the length and organization of your resumé.

One Page. Try hard. Unless you have 10+ years of experience.

The 10 Second Refresh. A hiring manager will review your resumé for approximately 10 seconds or less. When you do this, what do you see? Your resumé needs to SCREAM whatever roles, skills, and experience is required by the role you want.

Bullet Points. I can’t stress enough how hiring managers don’t want to read huge blocks of text paragraphs on the resumé. Break this up into manageable bites.

Explanations of Gaps. It is better to have something on your resumé rather than a gap showing unemployment. For example, a stay at home mom with a five year gap could fill in that space with: “Starting in May 2013, I left [COMPANY] to work as a stay-at-home mom for my three children. During this time, I started my own local jewelry company, which became profitable after just 6 months, and I served as the lead planner for multiple charity events, raising over $75,000, for my children’s school.”

Remove Your Objective Summary. Usually, this doesn’t add anything to the resumé, and a hiring manager usually skips it (we’re busy people and don’t have time to read 100 resumé summaries). If you keep it, which I’d recommend to explain varied experience, a career change, or other non-standard circumstances, I’d recommend 2 brief phrases – no more than 2 or 3 lines. I would state the number of years of experience you have doing [usually your current role/type of practice], some of your top skills/achievements, and finally point out the role you are seeking to describe why your skills/current role make you perfect for the role. Also, avoid using the 1st person.

Poor Action Words. Reevaluate your descriptions. Read each one and think about what it REALLY means. For example, what does “Championed staff blogging” mean? Sometimes we get caught up using flowery language while losing the effect of the content. Often simplicity can drive stronger impressions because it’s understood what exactly you did. The hiring manager can then say – “oh, that’s exactly the skill I need for this position.”

Remove References. References should not be on the resumé. They should be provided when asked. I’d recommend creating a separate document with a similar heading as your resumé with your references and their contact information laid out. Also make sure your references are prepared to be contacted in the event you haven’t spoken to them in a while.

Need help with your resumé? We’re here to help. Reach out here!