We come across thousands of clients who come to us for help in building their resume, and we often hear them say things like “I heard that you should never…” or “I was told to always…” Most of these assumptions are only assumptions and totally wrong. The thumb rule of resume writing is “Why should you hire me” this is the message that your resume has to address right at the top and your resume should be good enough to do that in the first 15 seconds of reading (study shows that recruiters and hiring managers spend an average of 6 seconds in reviewing a resume)
Taking this thumb rule into consideration lets bust some myths around resume writing:
I have to list all my jobs right from my first employment till the present one:
The resume should not be a list of all the things that you did across your career span. The resume should be the document that tells the employer how you can add value by using selective inclusions and emphasis on parts that you would want the employer to see.
For example, one of our clients was targeting the position of Chief Technology Officer and came with a considerable amount of quality experience. However, his last held position was that of an AVP because of the organizational structure in his existing organization but the role that he performed was similar to that of a CTO. So, when we drafted the resume, we mentioned it as “AVP of Technology (CTO equivalent)”
Another client was targeting for the position of Chief Financial Officer. Though the client had considerable experience in heading the finance domain, being part of a recent start-up, his primary role involved customer acquisition apart from heading the finance department. So when the resume was drafted, the focus was only given to the aspects revolving around finance and leadership skills. This way the profile looked to be a clear fit for the role of a CFO.
If you are going to be too descriptive about writing every experience and the tasks attached to it, the essence of the profile will be lost and the desired outcome may not be achieved. The employers will also not be sure about where to place the profile because there is too much information on it.
My resume has to be a one-pager or two pages:
The first thought in the employer’s mind is not the number of pages on the resume, but if they are going to find anything worthwhile to take the discussion forward. That way it does not matter if your resume is one or two pages, but what is important is if you give them that worthwhile information right at the beginning of the profile, as mentioned earlier, in the first 15 seconds of reading.
We often come across resumes where the fonts are too small or the margins too narrow or the space between jobs almost nonexistent. Clients tend to do all this to make the length of their resume shorter. This is too hard on the eye to read and the overall appeal of the resume is lost because of the dense content. It makes the readers' life difficult when they glance through looking for information that they would like to see on your resume. Address this issue by minimizing the amount of content that goes into the resume and eliminating things that do not make a difference in their decision-making process.
Some of the resumes that we have seen, has the important accomplishments ignored in order to follow the page limit, assuming that these accomplishments can be spoken about at the interviews. Don’t hurt your cause by following the non-existent “rule” that the recruiters and hiring managers are not paying attention to. We have seen resumes as long as 3 pages getting them the right interview as long as the content that goes into these 3 pages are strong and exactly what the reviewer is looking for. This does not mean that the more the number of pages on the resume, the more the possibility of getting selected. Unless you are able to create that interest in the first 15 seconds, it does not make a difference in the number of pages that your resume runs into.
Experience older than ten years is not relevant on the resume:
This again is a myth; focus on the role that you are applying into. If any part of your experience earlier than ten years is going to be in sync with the role that you are applying, then it has to be on the resume to provide you with the edge that the hiring managers are looking for. For example, someone applying for the role of a finance head and comes with over 20 years of experience and has grown up the ladder in the finance domain, should necessarily show the designations and roles held across the career span. This not only becomes a validation of expertise in the domain but the growth chart gives a positive outlook in the readers mind. Both ways, it serves the cause. However, it is advisable to eliminate experience older than ten years if it has no relevance to the position that the resume is being used for.
Functional resume over chronological resume:
Some clients feel that they should use a non-chronological resume to cover the issues that they have in their career timeline or breaks in career or a gap between education and career. When one pays attention to handling this or covering information, they tend to forget addressing the “why hire me” part. Unclear timelines, reverse chronology or no timeline will only confuse the reader. Stick to the basics, show them who you are and always focus on the important part of showcasing the value that you bring to the table. This is the only aspect that is going to get you the interview. When the hiring manager is convinced about the value that you bring, the rest becomes secondary.
If you are facing difficulty in placing the right content on your resume or unsure about what will work for you, do not hesitate to write to us – firstname.lastname@example.org
Be it a review of your existing CV or building one from scratch, we are here to help as we’ve been doing with thousand others over the years.
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