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A one- four page resume is recommended (depending on how many years of experience), but if you require a longer resume limit it to no more than five pages. Recruiters and Hiring Managers often scan the first few pages for appropriate experience, tools, and education while the trailing pages get little attention. Keep the focus of the resume on the last 7-10 years of your career. For experience beyond 10 years, including an “Additional Experience” section is most effective. Simply list out the dates, company, location and title of each position. This gives the Hiring Manager an opportunity to ask you about this experience during the interview.
Be Brief and Focused
To keep a resume short, you must be succinct. The focus of each position should be your key accomplishments and how you impacted an organization in a positive way. Use action words and phrases such as “designed and developed”, “led a team”, and “delivered results” versus “participated in” and “worked with”. Managers tend to look at your experience as an individual, even though you were a part of a team.
Executive Summary or Cover Letter
The summary and/or cover letter is a great way to market yourself and describe why you fit a particular position. It also allows a bit of your own style and personality to come through. However, Recruiters and Hiring Managers may not always take the time to look at an extra attachment. Adding a brief “Skills/Executive Summary” section to your resume allows you to summarize information from a cover letter onto the actual resume. Review the “required experience” section on the job for which you are applying and make sure the summary reflects your experience in those areas. Using the same terminology used in the job description is helpful, especially in situations where human resources personnel are the first to review your resume. Many internal Recruiters screen resumes for multiple departments within an organization and may not have the expertise required to understand the details of each job requirement. They will be looking for key words and phrases listed in the job description.
Many Recruiters and Hiring Managers use databases with advanced key word search functions to screen resumes. They will run searches with specific words, phrases, and titles to pull out what appear to be the best matches for the position. In your resume you should include key words for “on-the-job” skills that accurately reflect your experience. Be mindful of adding too many buzzwords.
The skills summary is important whether your desired position is functional or technical. This section should summarize your experience with various tools, programming languages, applications, etc. It should be near the top of your resume for quick and easy viewing. It is important that the terms you list in the skills and technical summary are represented in the body of the experience section. Recruiters and Hiring Managers look not only to see whether you have the tools they need, but also how and where you have used them.
In the experience section, list your professional positions in reverse chronological order, starting with your last position first. Using bullets to list your direct experience draws the eye to each individual accomplishment. For every position, include the type of projects you have worked on, what your individual role was, overall contributions, and tools you have used. If you have trouble summarizing your experience, you might consider pulling information from your past job descriptions or annual reviews.
Education and Training
This section should include degree type, completion date, minor/major, school, and location. If you are still working on your degree, use the same information, but rather than completion date, include “expected date of completion.” List training and certifications in a separate section including dates of training or receipt of certification. Always include the acronym with the title because Recruiters may search for either the acronym in lieu of full title. For example, Project Management Professional (PMP) or Microsoft Certified Systems Engineer (MCSE). Closing your resume with education and training is recommended.
Multiple Job Functions
If you are a multi-faceted individual and are willing to look at various types of positions, you might consider creating a basic resume and several additional job focused resumes. For instance, if you are a Programmer who has also worked as an Architect and Project Manager, you should also create a development resume, an architect resume, and a project management focused resume.
During the screening process, Recruiters and Hiring Managers look for reasons a candidate is a good fit, but they also look for reasons a candidate is NOT a good fit. These review criteria may include:
- Does the objective or summary match the job requirement?
- Is there appropriate and sufficient overall experience?
- Is there any critical experience missing?
- Are there examples of communication and teamwork skills?
- Are the job titles similar to the requirement?
- Is there effective use of tools, systems, and applications?
- Is the required education or certification present?
- Is the resume clear, easy to read, and without errors?
- Are there explanations for gaps in employment?
- Is the information in the summary sections or cover letter reflected in the body of the resume?
- Is there upward mobility as career has progressed?
Are you considering relocating? We have provided links to a few sites that have information about rentals, real estate, cost of living, per diem rates, and relocation assistance. If you have any specific questions, please contact your Fresh Consulting Recruiter. We would be happy to answer any questions you may have.
- US General Services Administration – Per Diem Rates
Do Your Homework
- At some point during an interview, you are bound to be asked “Why are you interested in this particular job? And what can you offer our company that others can not?” To respond adequately you must first gather information on the company and job description then use it to demonstrate how you and your abilities are the ideal fit for the position and organization.
- Corporate websites and online resources offer a wealth of valuable information — details about a company’s history, its position in the marketplace, its products, competitors, and mission-driven goals. This inside look at an organization can help you determine and demonstrate your true fit for a particular position and the added value you can offer the company as a whole. A candidate who is proactively versed about a potential employer is bound to impress the interviewer and can interactively exchange ideas that could contribute to a more successful interview.
Show the Right Stuff
- In today’s competitive business world, it is not enough to demonstrate the right skills for a particular position. Your resume needs to act as your marketing piece and paint a solid picture about your skills, an overview of the projects you have worked on, your responsibilities within the project, and the technologies utilized on the project. The goal with your resume coupled with our efforts is to land you the initial interview which moves you closer to obtaining your desired position.
- Now that the first interview is scheduled you must plan how to effectively describe how your work ethic, past experiences, successes, and missteps have shaped you into the candidate your interviewer will want to hire.
- One way to do this is to go beyond simply listing your technical skills. Give examples of how those skills allowed you to identify problems and provide excellent solutions to move the business forward. Come to the interview prepared with a few anecdotes from your work history where you contributed to creative problem-solving and teamwork which resulted successes for the business. Also, be prepared to share how past missteps have contributed to lessons learned to make you a smarter, more effective member of an organization.
Get a Leg Up on the Competition
- Measure up. Project your confidence and professionalism from the moment you arrive to your interview appointment. Stand up straight, initiate and maintain eye contact and greet with a firm, friendly handshake, and smile. Your attire definitely influences your first impression so clarify the company’s dress code prior to making clothing choices for your meeting. As always, arrive to your appointment 10 to 15 minutes prior to the scheduled time.
- Listen up. An experienced interviewer can instantly detect if you begin mentally formulating an answer to their question before they have finished asking it. The behavior may indicate to them you are hasty or may not value thoroughness in your work. Instead, maintain eye contact and listen carefully to the entire question. Answer intelligently and completely, and if time allows, look for opportunities to engage the interviewer in dialogue regarding their ideas and viewpoints. However, be mindful of the time allotted for the meeting and keep conversation concise if necessary.
- Follow up. Make a regular practice of sending a respectful and compelling thank you email/letter. This will not only show good manners, the email / letter can serve to reinforce the important points of the interview, your understanding of the organizational needs and the reasons you would be a great match for the position. Send the email/letter within three days of the interview then follow up with a phone call to ensure it was received. A gesture such as a thank you letter will likely set you apart from other candidates, giving you and edge on your competition