EditorialsBy Matt Bud, Chairman, The FENG

Based on the resumes I see on a daily basis, I am not sure there is full appreciation for the amount of time any reviewer gives to your carefully crafted opus.

The sad truth is that unless the information presented has a clarity greater than the other documents in that stack of 100-500, it can easily be passed over even though you MAY be the most qualified person in the pile.

Think long and hard about any of the speed reading that you do starting with the morning newspaper. I sometimes feel sorry for the reporters who have slaved over the stories I skip because I have been unable to find even one word of interest to jump up and “bite me.” I am sure that they worked as long and as hard as the authors of the ones I choose to digest along with my morning coffee and bagel.

What do you think is the most important information on your resume? If you guessed your remarkable achievements, you would be wrong. Most jobs fall to location (local candidates only), industry and then job titles previously held. Is all of this information clearly identifiable on your resume? If not, this may very well be why you are not hearing back on jobs where you think you are a “perfect fit.” What is obvious to you is apparently not so obvious to your reader.

Small fonts or unusual fonts, and margins less than 1 inch all the way around are good ways to make the decision to screen out your resume a “no brainer.” The eyes get bleary after even a short period of time trying to focus on the essential information so carefully concealed.

You can read all you want about white space and page layout, but it is often hard to apply this wisdom to your own materials. That is why you have friends. Allow them to be brutally honest and you just might be able to cure the most obvious flaws to THEM that you just can’t see anymore.

I have often been heard to say that I wasn’t born yesterday. The problem is that many of the folks reading this vital marketing document of yours were. Or, they just might not be all that knowledgeable. (If they were really smart, how would they have gotten stuck reviewing resumes all day?) Even if the names of your former employers appear in bold type, and your titles are clear, if you don’t take the time to “define” the company background (in 10 words or less), you are just kidding yourself that XYZ Corporation is going to ring a bell with anyone important when they are never going to see your paperwork.

We can lament all we want the shortened attention span in the world, but the truth is that the obligation to communicate is ours. Just as Rome wasn’t built in a day, resumes are best written and rewritten until they do the job you need them to do.

Make a habit of collecting resumes at meetings and always be comparing the work you have done with the work of others. The best ideas are freshly stolen.

Out of the box thinking may be a good thing when you are working, but deviating from accepted formats for your resume is not. What if financial reports started sometimes with net profits at the top or perhaps in the middle? Don’t you think it would be confusing?

There are times to conform and times to innovate. The general structure of a resume needs to conform so the reader who is going at 100 miles an hour can find what they need. Make them hunt and they will move on to the next document.

Try to make sure the one they examine in detail is yours by making their job easy.

Regards, Matt

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