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The BIGGEST Mistake You're Making on Your Resume

Resume

Plain and simple, you're not including WHAT your current employer and past employers do. When I recruit, one of the top criteria I am asked to use for my search by a client is similar industry experience.

I had a client that was a start-up company about 2 years old and they only wanted to see candidates who had worked in start up. Do you know how hard it is to figure this out from reading a resume? Most people don't include any information about their employer (or past employers). I had to do a lot of research each time I reviewed a resume. Not fun. FYI, the candidate that got the job was someone who had outlined in detail what each of his employers did and mentioned which ones were start-ups. #RecruiterHappyDance.

Take a look at these two resume examples:

Example A:

ExampleJOHN SMITH - RESUME

Lorrendale, Inc., Austin, TX     Mar 2014 - Present

Director of Marketing

  • Developed and managed a budget of $1MM

  • Led global team of 14 resulting in 24% business growth in the first year

  • Etc.

Example B:

ExampleJOHN SMITH - RESUME

Lorrendale, Inc., Austin, TX     Mar 2014 - Present

Lorrendale, Inc., is a 15 year old privately held B2B company specializing in the manufacturing of widgets for the architectural industry worldwide. With 12 locations nationally and over 2500 employees, they are the industry leader in widget production.
Director of Marketing

  • Developed and managed a budget of $1MM

  • Led global team of 14 resulting in 24% business growth in the first year

  • Etc.

Why This Works

Why This Works

Sample B above provides so much more information! If you leave out detail about your employer (and past employers), you're giving the reader permission to make all sorts of assumptions, not to mention making it harder for them to determine if there is an industry match.

Your resume needs to build just like a story builds and it starts with WHO you work for and what they do followed by a short paragraph introducing your role and THEN outline bullets of responsibility.


Your resume needs to build just like a story builds and it starts with WHO you work for and what they do followed by a short paragraph introducing your role and THEN you outline major bullets of responsibility.


When writing the WHAT of each employer below the employer name, there are a few things to include which matter most:

  • Size of the company: A Director of Marketing for a 10,000 employee company is quite different than a Director of Marketing for a 10 person company. Either way, you want to include this in the line that explains what your employer does.

  • Focus of the company: B2B or B2C - especially in the marketing industry, prospective employers want marketers who have marketing experience in either Business-to-Business or Business-to-Consumer. If you're not a marketer, this may not matter as much, but if you are a marketer, include it.

  • Product or Service Company: Did your employer(s) sell products or did they sell services? Another important factor that recruiters use when vetting potential candidates. Again, this may matter more for marketers, but if you're an executive or department leader, this might matter to you as well.

  • Was it a startup or was it a 15 year old company? Many companies want employees who can jump right into their culture. Working for a well defined 15 year old company is very different than the hectic highs and lows of a start-up. Make it clear to the reader which you've worked in for each employer.

  • Publicly traded verse private? Again, this is very telling to the reader as to the challenges you faced and problems you solved for your employer.

Learn to TELL A STORY when you write your resume - YOUR story. So many resumes are choppy bullets of data which no introduction of your role and no segway from one job to the next. It makes reading resumes daunting, exhausting and un-fun (not sure if that's a real word but I'm using it LOL). Not to mention it dramatically increases your chance of getting overlooked because you didn't provide enough information.


Should I use a TWO-PAGE resume or a ONE-PAGE resume? YES!! STOP THE MADNESS! Use TWO PAGES!


Oh, and for all of you out there who have been told to convert your 2 page resume into a one page resume? STOP IT. Whoever told you that is wrong wrong wrong. If you need two pages, USE THEM! It's about quality content. I have seen people attempt to squish two entire pages onto one page but all they're doing is making it hard to read OR they omit so much information that there's no way to truly determine if they're qualified.

I'll challenge anyone who disagrees with me on this. It's not the length of the resume that is the problem; it's the quality of the information and the order of how the information is laid out that is usually the issue. So please, USE TO PAGES!

RaeganWant a Coach to help you build, manage and execute an effective Job Search Strategy? I can help! Contact me directly to discuss a customized solution based on your specific needs. Best of luck to all of you who are job hunting!

Topics: Resume & Cover Letters

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