Resume Advice Hiring Managers Wish you Knew
Confession: I am a hiring manager. As the owner of 5 businesses, I employ well over a hundred people, and have personally hired every single one. When I list an open position, I get thousands of resumes FOR ONE POSITION. To tell you the truth, I will only read about 10% of them. In today’s post, I’m going to discuss five ways you may be getting your resume into the Don’t-Read pile, and how to get yourself out.
1. Be professional
This seems like it would be a given, but it’s clearly not considering how many “‘Jimbo’ Smith email: email@example.com*”s I get. Don’t use nicknames, and make sure your email is straightforward. If your name is James Smith, then your email should be firstname.lastname@example.org* or something similar.
2. Consistency is key
No one wants to hire a job hopper. It’s sheer logistics; if I’m looking through thousands of emails, and interviewing hundreds of people, I’m not going to want to do that again anytime soon. Interviews are as draining for me as they are for you. So if I see a resume with a lot of short-term jobs on there, I’m going to assume you’re a job hopper and move on.
It could just be that you had a short-term job on the side while maintaining a long-term job. Lots of people do that these days. In that case, simply don’t include your short-term job on your resume. If you had employment that was relatively brief but is essential in qualifying you for the job you’re applying for, include what you learned from that job into your list of skills.
3. Keep it short and sweet
In relation to rule number two, keep your information relevant. Ideally your resume should be a page long. A lot of experts will say that these days, it’s acceptable to have a two-page resume. I disagree. Like I said before, I’m looking through a lot of these, and multi-page resumes– though informative– take more time to read. Only include the jobs and skills that are relevant to the position. If you really want to talk about how Irrelevant Job #1 has made you better suited for the position, talk about that in the interview.
Don’t assume that I will infer that you’re qualified as a graphic designer if your resume says “administrative assistant” on it. Tailor your resume to the position you’re applying for. If you’re looking for a job, have a couple of different resumes; one for graphic design positions, one for administrative assistant positions, and so on.
4. Stand out (but always refer to rule#1)
It makes sense that if you’re competing for my attention that you want to stand out, you’re going to want to do something different than the rest. Traditional advice says to keep your resume to blue or black. That’s not terrible advice, but with today’s technology makes it easier than ever to manipulate fonts and colors, so go for it.
For all intents and purposes, this resume is representative of your brand.If you’re applying for a creative position, include graphics. Charts, graphs and illustratively grouped information are all great ways to give your resume a personal touch. If you’re applying for a more business-like/ serious position, maybe just make your headlines a different. Change your headline color to charcoal gray or navy blue; add a clean-looking border; print your resume on a slightly textured paper.
Please, please, please do not include a selfie on your resume. If you’re auditioning as a model or actor, then that’s something else completely. But even then, you’re going to need a professional head shot, not some selfie you took in the bathroom five minutes ago (I’ve actually gotten those). There are of course some exceptions to the rule, but to be safe, just don’t include photos in your resume. That’s what LinkedIn is for.
5. Be sure sure I can read it
Although font size and legibility are important, we’re specifically talking about format. You can never count on what kind of capabilities your hiring manager’s computer has. Maybe you sent a Word file in .docx but their Word program only reads .doc. It happens all the time. PDF is the best format to send your resume; it translates the formatting of your document into a visual so that the receiving end is getting exactly what you see.
These are my pet peeves and the pet peeves of my hiring manager colleagues, but as I stated before, there are exceptions to every rule. If in the advertisement, the hiring manager requests that you send your resume as a Word attachment, then by all means, do so. If the ad asks you to include a photo, do it. These are little tests that hiring managers include to make sure that you’re engaged and following instructions rather than blindly copying and pasting your resume to every relevant ad out there.
*The use of these emails are purely arbitrary and coincidental. We do not know the persons attached to these emails or even if these emails exist.