If you want your resume to succeed in today’s world of database-driven recruitment, you have three major considerations:
1. Your resume needs to be data-dense to be found in database searches.
2. Your resume needs to be succinct and focused on a specific target job.
3. Your resume needs to be visually accessible and readable
Resumes: Focus and Data-Density
When recruiters search resume databanks, with their millions and tens of millions of resumes, they always have a specific job in mind, so searches always begin with a sequence of keywords from the job description.
Recruiters have endless resumes to choose from, so the first time they see your resume they just give it a quick scan, not a full read. In fact, a recent study estimates that recruiters only need about six seconds to rule your resume in or out.
Unless your resume is properly focused on a target job, describing it in the ways that employers have defined that job, it is unlikely to make it high enough in the search results to be reviewed.
Resume Length Recruiters don’t have the time or patience to read a War and Peace–length saga of your employment history; they just want someone who can fill this job now so they can move on to the next assignment. In order to pass the scan test, your resume needs to address a target job and clearly demonstrate your fit; you achieve this by understanding your customers’ needs. This means your resume needs to be long on information demonstrating your ability to satisfy the employer’s objectives, and short on irrelevancies like your objectives.
Your Resume Must Be Well-Organized
If the first page of your resume is tightly focused and contains a Target Job Title, a Performance Summary or Performance Profile built on the priorities you identified in your TJD , and a Professional Skills/Core Competency section packed with relevant keywords, you will have the reader’s attention by the time he gets halfway down the first page. Your second page will always be read if your first page gives your reader what she’s looking for.
Your Resume Must Be Readable
Of course, there is always the dumb way out: cramming everything up tight and keeping it on one page by reducing the font size to 8. If your heart beats faster at the thought of a one-page resume, it is always within reach, but here’s the problem: staring at computer screens ruins eyesight, and the odds are that anyone in a position to hire you will have difficulty with small fonts, even with their glasses on. Why scupper your candidacy with something so trivial and easily avoidable?
Your Resume Must Be Concise
While length doesn’t matter as much as it used to, you should still make every effort to maintain focus and an “if in doubt, cut it out” editing approach. If you’re having trouble keeping your resume pruned to a manageable length, remember that you can add the deleted information to your more detailed professional networking profile on LinkedIn.
Your Resume in the Future
As your career progresses: the advent of more detailed resumes means that even a first job change could well require a two-page resume. By the time you have ten years’ experience—provided you didn’t spend those ten years sitting on your thumbs—your resume will almost certainly be running to three pages.
Your resume is the probably the single most important document you will ever own. Invest yourself in learning how to create resumes that deliver the jobs you want.