Every once in a while I get an assignment for The FECG that draws more than its fair share of attention.
I think our all time high a few years ago was an assignment that drew 225 responses. However, even when you get an assignment that draws more than say 40 responses, it can get a little difficult to see the forest for the trees. And, with all that talent to choose from, those who provide the clearest presentation of their credentials are the ones we are most likely to send to our client for consideration. To be very honest, it’s hard to justify forcing our client to “read between the lines” when you have so many better submissions.
Here is where the time you spend writing your resume can really pay off. The traditional structure of a resume is the one we prefer. It starts with your name, address, phone numbers and email address at the top, followed by a brief summary and then your employers in reverse chronological order ending with your education.
It has been my experience that given a fairly consistent set of responses, the real fine tuning of the selection process hinges on industry and within industry on the companies at which you have worked and what they do. And this, unfortunately, is where most resume writers let themselves fail. They assume that everyone knows the names of their companies and their vaunted areas of expertise.
While I can assure you that I wasn’t born yesterday, and even though I have been reviewing resumes on behalf of my clients since 1999, there still are firms about which I am not knowledgeable. I often wonder why those submitting their credentials for our assignments think I should know. Would it hurt to give me a little hint?
The best approach is to assume no significant knowledge of your employers by those reading your resume. Keep in mind that most resume reviewers are quite a bit younger than I am and they REALLY don’t have a clue. You need to educate them, not only about your many fine qualities and accomplishments, but also about the nature of the companies at which you have worked.
Some good examples from a recent batch:
– $15 million public corporation and manufacturer of data networking equipment.
– A public software company that develops performance and fault management systems for networks, applications and servers. The company has about 640 employees in 18 countries and has projected sales of about $150 million for 2005.
– An independent electric power producer in the solid waste industry.
– A $150m manufacturer of active lifestyle footwear.
There honestly is no need to blather on. A simple one sentence, two at the most, explanation of what your employer’s did is all that is needed.
Fit is a hard enough thing to determine from someone’s resume. Give those to whom you are sending that masterpiece of communication a little hint now and then and you will find yourself more often on the slate of candidates sent forward and less often in the circular file.
The ball is in your court. (I thought I would try a tennis analogy tonight instead of my usual sailing ones.)