If you are sending out your resume, whether in answer to postings or cold to companies where you would like to work, and you are getting few responses, it is time to revise and re-work. Remember, the resume is an advertisement for you. Its purpose is to get your foot in the door for the first interview. It need not tell your whole life story. It needs to be long enough to cover the topic and short enough to be interesting.
Too much detail – Too long and no one will read it. Omit descriptions of your companies or summaries of your job descriptions. They waste valuable space and do not say anything about you. One or two pages is sufficient, unless you are an executive or an academic.
Not enough detail – Be specific. Bulleted items for each job – Most recent jobs should have 4-6 bullets. Earlier jobs can have 2-3 bullets. Make sure to include your top skills and key words. Your details distinguish you from the next candidate with a similar work history.
Too long /Too short – If you are a recent college graduate, you can use one page, otherwise it is okay to go to two pages, or more, depending upon your job function. Executives may have three or more pages. Academics may have more pages to include lists of publications and presentations.
Job descriptions instead of accomplishments – Be specific. Use the P.A.R. approach – What problem did you solve? What action did you take? What was the result? Start each bullet with a strong verb. Use quantities, numbers, and percentages whenever possible. If you can’t remember exactly how many events you planned, guesstimate.
Unexplained Gaps – obvious gaps in employment. If you have not done any volunteer work, consulting, or owned your own business, then you need to be prepared to answer that question during the interview. If you are currently out of work you need to fill in with volunteer work, consulting, or an interim position.
Amy Geffen is a Five O’Clock Club Certified Career Coach with over 30 years of experience in management, non-profits and associations. She has worked with finance, insurance and engineering professionals, as well as lawyers, editors, marketers, students, and those over 50 experiencing ageism. She has a Master’s Degree from Harvard University and a PhD from New York University.