By Frank Bruni
There is no right or wrong way to write a résumé. The one that gets you the job is the right one, everything else is opinion. What follows is my opinion based on over 20 years of recruitment experience and examining thousands of résumés, so feel free to give what follows the weight it deserves.
1) Your résumé must be perfect. No spelling mistakes, no grammatical errors, no incorrect dates. This is one occasion where “good enough” is not enough. Aim for a clean uncluttered look, with plenty of white space. Think flawless.
2) Do not lie on your résumé. It will come back to haunt you.
3) Your résumé is real estate and the first page is prime. There should be nothing on the first page that does not expressly serve the purpose of getting you an interview. Only the important stuff counts. If you are a recent graduate then “Education” can be on the first page, otherwise leave it to the end. One page is sufficient if you are just starting out; two pages if you have experience. NO MORE THAN TWO PAGES, EVER!
4) I am not in favour of a “profile statement” at the top of your résumé. I think they take up valuable space that could be better devoted to skills and proofs. That being said, if you must have one, make it short and commit it to memory. It must be your personal mission statement, not just worthless prose that takes up space.
5) Your résumé should feature your accomplishments. Future employers will use past accomplishments as their primary yardstick for determining if you go forward in the process. Avoid putting in too much information; hit the highlights. Remember that your résumé is intended to get you an interview. It should include enough information to do that, but not so much that the employer doesn’t need to see you.
6) It’s all in the proof. You cannot make unsubstantiated claims on your résumé. Back up every claim you make with an example of why it is true.
7) Forget the business jargon and doublespeak. Don’t use industry acronyms or short forms. Use plain, direct language and avoid the temptation to “sound smart”. If you execute your résumé properly the reader will conclude you are smart.
8) Only elaborate on those experiences that directly relate to the job you are looking for. If you are looking for a job as a Vice President and your most recent job was Vice President then that is very relevant and you should expand on that experience. The reader will not care, however, if you were a patent clerk early in your career. A simple line item for that job will do. In addition, make sure that you include your complete (full-time) job history. On a résumé an omission is as good as a lie (see No. 2).
9) Avoid putting your social media addresses on your résumé unless it directly relates to your next job. The exception is your LinkedIn address. (If you are not on LinkedIn sign-up A.S.A.P.)
10) Lastly, when you save the file on your computer it should be saved as a PDF with the format firstnamelastname.pdf. Remember the people you are sending your résumé to get hundreds if not thousands of résumés. If they are all named resume.doc how can they tell them apart? PUT YOUR NAME ON THE FILE!
Frank Bruni is the President of Career Lab Inc.based in Toronto Canada (www.careerlab.ca)
With over 20 years experience in the career service and executive recruitment professions Frank advises clients on how to effectively execute a job search.