EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

The first time I show someone a navigational chart their eyes usually glass over. There are so many detailed pieces of information and so many strange colors and symbols. It can be more than a little overwhelming.

Most folks purchase charts in bound books covering specific geographic areas. The first problem is finding the chart you need. This can be done by studying the cover where the total geographic area is shown. On this page there are boxes with numbers indicating what page to use for each harbor of interest.

After all these years, I’m not sure what stuff is obvious and what isn’t to the uninitiated. Water depth, symbols for various kinds of channel markers, and different colors for land versus shallow and deep water can all kind of run together to those unfamiliar with the format.

That said, reading charts is actually a lot easier than reading most resumes I see.

Being a publishing and advertising guy (and an accountant by trade), I find using a consistent format to be important. Are there any standard resume formats? Well, of course there are!

The generally accepted structure is to begin your resume with your name, address, telephone numbers and email address neatly arrayed across the top. If you have a page two, be sure to provide at least your name on the top of page two in case the pages get separated. (Believe it or not, some people who want to be considered for jobs far away from where they currently live have actually left off ALL of their contact information so no one will know they aren’t a local candidate. I’m not sure how they think someone will reach them.)

A good idea to follow this information is a summary. Like the top page of my book of charts, it provides you with an overview of what is to follow. Are you a manufacturing, merger and acquisition or internal auditor type? What industries have you covered? All of this in a few simple sentences can provide the reader with just the kind of broad brush picture of who you are that will make what follows that much easier to absorb.

Each company, from most current to least current should follow with a one or two line description of their business, followed by your titles, again from most current to least current. Accomplishments, more numerous for your more recent jobs, can taper off to even none at all for those jobs you held early in your career.

Broad references to jobs and/or companies (major consumer products company or “big 8” accounting firm) you worked for early in your career are inappropriate for a resume. Although there will be little interest in navigating those waters of your career, effectively leaving that section of your chart blank is a bad approach. You may as well write “TOO OLD” at the top of your resume.

The closing section of your resume is your academic credentials including your years of graduation. I know there is some significant disagreement on this last part, but it is information needed to confirm your degrees and can be requested. I also would suggest that missing information calls more attention to your age than putting it in.

If you think of your resume as a chart or guide to your career and are careful to be consistent in your format and clear in your writing, you may even find more folks navigating your way.

(And yes, the salt water never drains out of my brain. I am always mentally at sea.)

Regards, Matt

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