How many pages does it take your resume to tell your story to a potential employer or client? When I started my career, the one page resume was for a person just entering the workforce or someone changing careers. Having a long resume was a badge of honor showing that you had significant and relevant work experience.
All of that has changed.
Resumes have moved from being the complete chronicle of your work experience to being the tool that illustrates why you are the best candidate for a single position. I cannot stress this enough. The age of having a standard multiple-page resume that you send out to everyone for every position is over.
As the world continues to move towards sound bites, text messages, and microsharing, people do not take the time to read long resumes. Your resume must tell your story succinctly and effectively. One company recently told me that they toss all resumes over one page, even though they do not mention in their postings that they only accept one-page resumes. If you have a long resume, even if it lands on the desk of the hiring manager, that person is likely to skim it and may miss the details you want them to see. Brevity is the key for making you look great.
Those of you who have seen my company resume know that I switched to a one-page resume format several years ago. You may not know that I customize my resume each time I submit it. I made this switch when I realized that the hiring manager or project manager was not the first person to read my resume. In most cases, someone in Human Resources or a department administrative person screens incoming resumes. Typically, these people do not have the background knowledge to read between the lines in my work experience. I had to make sure my resume convinced the screener that I met the exact requirements they need so my resume landed in the keeper stack.
You need to make it easy for the recipient to see how well you meet their requirements, and that means a little more work for you. You must write your resume for the audience, a person skimming it for one or two key words that match their position requirements. My resume strategy makes it easy for me to send out customized, one-page resumes. I created a separate resume for each service I offer. This gives me a starting point for customizing a resume to meet the exact position requirements quickly and easily, and ensures that I include the relevant work experience. I recommend the same strategy for you. You must invest a little time up front to get your one-page resume prepared, and you must customize it before sending it for a specific position. However, the payoff in effectiveness is worth every minute you invest.
But don’t just take my word for it. Jack Molisani from ProSpring Technical Staffing has a presentation covering seven resume secrets gleaned from his experience staffing projects and comes to the same conclusion.
If you need assistance carving out the significant details of your work history and creating a layout for your one-page resume, we are always available to help you present yourself better in writing.
The bottom line: You need to rewrite your resume, cut it to a single page, and then customize it to fit the specific requirements of the position each time you submit it.
Note: Biznik featured this article on its front page on Sunday, October 12, 2008.