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How important is your resume?

Your resume is the document that a hiring manager will evaluate, deciding if you will make the short list for an interview.

Your resume is the document that others will screen to determine if you will be forwarded to the hiring manager for consideration.

Your resume is the document that one of your networking contacts will forward with a recommendation to those in the hiring chain, associating their good name and standing with yours.

It’s critical to get your resume right in order to have the best chance at moving forward through the myriad of hiring processes.

So what is a resume? Your resume is a reflection of your brand and is your marketing story. You are the product being sold.

The purpose of the resume is to get you through any and all screen filters between you and the hiring manager, with the intent of landing an interview.

Screening filters may be automated – by the way searches are done (keyword matches) or by the way web sites are written (or the business rules within the web site are entered).

Screening filters may be manual – by the preconceptions of human resource staff, 3rd party recruiters, your network contacts, hiring managers. Many people in the screening functions are younger than many of the job seekers – there are important generational differences to consider, and if a strong connection can’t be made, the job seeker may be filtered out. If your network contact doesn’t think you are a fit, they may not be willing to forward your resume on with a strong recommendation. Resumes forwarded through a networking contact without a strong recommendation are not likely to move forward in the process.

Here are a few specifics about the content of your resume:

  • Name and Title fit with your brand and social media profiles
  • What top of the fold is most important
  • Two Pages – max!
  • Key Words must be present in an appropriate mix for the job posting
  • Metrics around accomplishment statements are differentiators
  • Differentiate yourself, focus on the important, pare out the irrelevant
  • Avoid fancy formatting – web sites and tools don’t handle it well
  • Save your resume in various formats (.rtf, .pdf, word 2003, word 2010) – some sites haven’t caught up to the newer formats
  • Use a Wordle to evaluate yourself (Wordle article here)

Use your network contacts, your accountability partners and others to critique your resume and provide constructive feedback. There are plenty of formats to choose from and plenty of professional resume writers to help if you are inclined to go in that direction. I personally favor the networking groups as a source of constructive feedback.

Ultimately, it’s your resume and you are the expert on who you are, what your marketing message is and what your next career step is. Take good care in crafting your resume and keeping it in line with your brand and it will serve you well in your job search.

Artifacts Page

Job Search Table Of Content