While the days of the resume being an integral part of the job hunting experience are fading, as new media and online branding seep in, the resume still holds an important part of any job search. Like crocs, newspapers, and travel agencies (to name a few), it is taking a long time to go gentle into the dark night. Until such time as it vanishes like old dad’s hat band, or using the word “dungarees”, we still need to have amazing looking papers to get in the door. As Walter says in the Big Lebowski, “it’s a f**king show dog with f**king papers”. You, my friends, are the show dog. To get into the show, you gotta have your f**king papers!
So, there are 8000+ links out there to show you the right format, the right language, the right this or that or the other thing. I am not going to repeat it, when others have done it to perfection. What I will do is give some general advice, that should help no matter what your field, what your skill set, what level of your career or even if you have a gap.
The guts of my resume philosophy is this: Every single job out there is different. Every place you send your resume into is a different place. So, why do you only have one resume? You need what I call a “Skeleton” resume. One that is easily malleable, where things can be cut and pasted, pulled around taken out or put in.
General formats / rules on length / bullets vs. paragraphs / 1st person or 3rd person / “fun” vs. business style – these things change! They don’t just change over time but they change on where you are submitting your papers. Not only should your resume match the job, it should match the company culture and the industry. If I applied for a recruiting role at Mobiquity Inc. it would be a far cry from what I would send to Barclays Capital. The goal of the resume is to get you in the door, not to get you the job. It’s one of a series of hoops you need to jump through.
1) NEVER EVER LIE!!!!!
However, always remember, it is not what you say, but how you say it. Or, in a resume, where you put it! Make what is applicable closer to the top. Move things around so the “hot buttons” get read first.
2) Use the language:
In your experience bullets, use the language of the job description. For example, if it says “3 years developing in C++” and your resume says, “3 years coding in C++” change the word! Your Summary/Objective etc. bullet on the top should not only reflect the job you are applying for, but use the language of the job description. Make 3-4 lines explaining why that description is YOU and why you have the skills the MAN needs!
3) Size and length does not matter:
…to a point (we’re still talking about resumes here folks, so focus). Your resume needs to be the right size to get your points across. I still think anything over 3 pages is going to be too long. In that case, summarize your earlier work to get it tighter. Between us, no one is going to look past page 2, unless there is a reason, anyway…
Never ever have a gap. Unless your bullet point would be:
Smoked a lot of trees, watched all 6 seasons of Lost and all 6 Star Wars films on repeat for 3 months…
…then you need something there. Show how you kept up your professional skills via courses or books while looking for your next job. Put some non-industry related experience. Put Break for personal reasons, details if requested. SOMETHING to fill the spot that can be asked about! Gaps make me… nervous.
Every resume should be as unique as your fingerprint but as a changeable as a recipe for beef stew when your guests include a vegan, someone lactose intolerant and an Armenian. It should match the job and the culture of the company you are sending it. Job hunting has many hoops you need to job before you can win the offer. Getting the interview based on your resume is the first!