Can you take a look at my resume?

We get a lot of requests to review resumes.  Job seekers want to know if they should use chronological or functional.  Should it be just one page or is it okay to have two or more pages?  How should long periods away from one’s prime occupation be addressed?

These are all valid questions and there are indeed valid answers.  But they are so specific to the individual and his or her particular circumstances that we cannot address them in this blog.  And, unfortunately, we can’t review everyone’s resume and provide individualized responses.

What we can say about the resume is that most job seekers spend far too much time worrying about them.

Resumes serve a purpose.  They should be viewed as a marketing brochure about the job seeker.  They should communicate the essential  “features and benefits” of the candidate.  They should describe measurable responsibilities and achievements, as opposed to generalities and unsupportable statements.  They should portray the job seeker in the most positive light without resorting to embellishment or dishonesty.

But just as most car buyers have never made a purchase based solely on the beautifully designed brochures, most employers do not make hiring decisions based solely on the resume.  It may get you in the door for an interview, but even the best resumes are often overlooked when they are mixed in with hundreds of others.

Instead of hoping the resume will be noticed in the overflowing email inbox of an overworked human resources manager, the job seeker should focus his or her energy on trying to get in the door WITHOUT a resume.  The best way to do this is to employ a strategy of networking and meeting with people who can help keep your job search moving forward.

We will have a lot more on networking in the days and weeks to come.  In the meantime, remember that there is no correct or incorrect way to write a resume for everybody.  They can be written in hundreds of ways.  In the end, all that’s important is that it presents you and your candidacy well.

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