Tips to iimprove your resume
January 11, 2012 3:42 PM   Subscribe

Any suggestions on how to make your resume attractive? not sure if there is a new trend for resume writing but want to get feedback from, Recruiters and Hiring Manager. With the economy and competition, it's getting so tough to even get an initial interview.
posted by msconfuse to Work & Money (15 answers total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
It would help to know the industry/positions you're targeting.

But, generally speaking: no typos, not longer than 1 page unless you are an academic putting together a CV or else have 20+ years experience, use the active voice, etc.

There are lots of resume templates available online. Take a look at them and see which fit your style/industry/objectives/career.
posted by dfriedman at 3:48 PM on January 11, 2012

Have someone else proofread it.
posted by phunniemee at 3:49 PM on January 11, 2012 [4 favorites]

Response by poster: Procurement is my background. Is it more attactive to have the "accomplishments" instead of work responsibilites on each of the positions I've been?
I currently just put the accomplishment on top and the job responsibilites on each positions, but seen some people just put their accomplishment on each roles...not sure if there some new format that I should use
posted by msconfuse at 3:58 PM on January 11, 2012

I'm not in your industry (not sure if I'm in your target country either), but it would definitely not work in mine (finance-related, U.S.) to list only your accomplishments. I like the way you are doing it now.

I come across resumes that are done in a variety of formats but so long as it is concise (as short as possible without leaving out key details), grammatically correct (no serious typos, no slang), clearly demonstrates why you should be considered for that position (relevant experience/objective/accomplishments) it gets at least a look. I'm sure we all have our preferences for what we'd like to see but it's rare that various employers require totally differently written resumes, at least in my experience both on the hiring and the job-seeking side.
posted by sm1tten at 4:11 PM on January 11, 2012

What country are you in? Expected resume length differs from country to country - from memory the US wants 2 pages and the UK requires 1.

Definitely have someone else proofread it, preferably someone who has experience in the industry/level you're at.
posted by Xany at 4:13 PM on January 11, 2012

It really depends on your field and the amount of experience you have in that field. I have had no problem getting an interview in my field, but it's likely due to the fact that I have a lot of experience in my field.
posted by anniecat at 4:17 PM on January 11, 2012

I recruit and hire and look at a ton of resumes (probably not in your field). I'm generally not interested in a candidate that lists their responsibilities, no matter how impressive they might be - it doesn't tell me anything about the candidate and why I'd want to hire them.

What I want to see is a resume filled with accomplishments and achievements. Every single bullet point should have three pieces of detail: Situation, Action, Outcome.

"In this situation, I did this, which resulted in this."

People who write their resume as a list of responsibilities are essentially writing a job description, and I'm not interested in being hired by you!
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 4:38 PM on January 11, 2012 [6 favorites]

I've interviewed quite a few people in the last week and what I wish they did (which none of them did) was make it easy for me to see the most important stuff on their resume. In each case it has been a wall of text, and Small Accomplishment Number Four has been typographically equivalent to Massive Project Number One. Find a way to call out the most important stuff, which should vary by the job you are applying for. Put another way, assume the interviewer is not going read your CV in depth. If that turns out to be false, great. If it turns out to be true, make sure the good stuff is in their face and doesn't require close reading to draw out.
posted by StephenF at 4:49 PM on January 11, 2012

Response by poster: I'm based in US. How far do you have to go back? I have 3 pages resume, over 10 yrs of experience in Procurement but started in Finance.
posted by msconfuse at 5:56 PM on January 11, 2012

3 pages is too much. Cut it down to two. A resume is a sales document, not a life history. Really, with only 10 years, you should be able to do a resume in one page, but I don't think two pages will hurt you if everything on the resume is actually relevant. Get rid of anything personal - nobody cares that you are a Boy Scout volunteer, unless you are applying for jobs that require leading kids, in which case it is highly relevant. Get rid of anything descriptive. People hiring procurement managers know what procurement managers do. Look at every single line of text under your experience section. If the sentence is not selling your accomplishments, rewrite it, or delete it.
posted by COD at 7:58 PM on January 11, 2012

Stop listing old things when they're boring and make you look worse. You want to show off your most impressive accomplishments and not dilute them with irrelevant or unimpressive filler.

I work in software, and if I get a resume that shows you've spent the last five years working on google maps and adobe Photoshop, you will almost certainly get an interview. It will add absolutely nothing and only hurt if you tell me that previous to that you worked on somthing awful, like FarmVille. stop while you're ahead. I'm not actually interested in your history, I'm interested in figuring out if you'll be productive on my team, try to look awesome, not comprehensive.
posted by tylerkaraszewski at 8:01 PM on January 11, 2012 [1 favorite]

I am having pretty good luck with my current resume, based on guidance I received from Manager Tools. I paid $30 for the Resume Workbook and I think it was worth every penny.

In a jist, one page resume, no whitespace, no fluff, no objective. Just Contact Details / Reverse Chronological Order of Jobs / Education. Within the Jobs section, Date / Company / Role. Within each role, responsibilities and then bulleted accomplishments. Accomplishments should state what you did, how much you saved / made the company, and how you did it, e.g. Implemented a new procurement system reducing lead time by 5 days through the introduction of Magic Supply Chain process.

Send me a Mefi email and I will send you my resume. And yes, my resume was 3 pages. It is amazing what you can get it down to when you cut the fluff and revise 15 times.
posted by jasondigitized at 8:08 PM on January 11, 2012

Best answer: Unless you're applying for federal or academic jobs -- which come with their own sets of rules -- you REALLY should keep it to one page in the U.S. If there are major accomplishments or strengths you want to highlight in detail, save it for the cover letter. Have you tried Google yet? There's really a lot of good information out there. Here's what you find if you do a Google image search for procurement resume example.

These days I get lots of resumes copy and pasted into email, so fancy formatting gets lost in the translation and it's hard to know if it was REALLY just one page in Word when it prints as a page and three quarters, including email headers. Nonetheless, I'd look askance at any Word or PDF resume that was longer than a page for somebody with less than 20 years of experience.

Some ways you could trim:

For older/less impressive jobs, just put Title, Company, Location, Dates. That way you can write more about what you've accomplished at my newer/more impressive jobs and still keep it within one page.

If you have a lot of educational details, consider a bulleted list:
* BA in X from School A, 2000
* MS in Y from School B, 2003
* Certificate in Z from School C, 2004

For certifications, even a non-bulleted list might work:
This, 2000; That, 2003; The Other, 2004.

Minimize the amount of space occupied by your header:
YOUR NAME (large-ish font)
address * phone number * email address (smaller font than the rest of the resume, all on one line)

Don't include references in a resume. If references are requested in the job posting, put them on a separate piece of paper or in the cover letter. Otherwise, don't send them all all until requested.
posted by croutonsupafreak at 8:23 PM on January 11, 2012

Best answer: Strongly second'ing that you cut it down to one page. I've been on the hiring end of the equation a lot of times and when a potential employer has a stack of 500 resumes to go through, anything which requires them to work for more then a minute per resume is going straight into the discard pile. Unless you're competing for very exclusive jobs, the person reading simply won't have the time to pore over your resume on the first pass.

Your main goals in a resume are to:
1. not convince anyone to trash it during the first "oh god I have to winnow this pile down" quick scanning. Two pages long, obvious misspellings, awful format, bragging about a 1.1 GPA, an objective or goal that clearly indicates you didn't read the posting or bother to research what this company does, etc. Honestly, when the pile of resumes is huge, often the first pass through this stage is purely a negative-match one: you spend 10 seconds per page looking for "oh hell no" signs. That usually cuts the pile in half, then you can spend a minute per resume looking for meatier differences.
2. stand out just enough, in a good way, that you make it into the "maybe" pile: proper objective, you listed the job skills that were relevant to the posting, etc. (This is one good way to get down to one page. First edit it to a half-page of skills, etc., that you'll always want to show off, followed by one full page of jobs and accomplishments. Be merciless. Then when you need to submit, cut it down to one page total, saving only the things which could be relevant experience to the posting.) Don't expect people to read the whole thing at this point.
3. convince them during the all-important third reading that you deserve follow-up work.
posted by introp at 9:09 PM on January 11, 2012 [2 favorites]

Interesting - my impression is that two pages is fine, as long as you have the job history, education and such to fill it out without padding. Perhaps this is demographic specific, but most of those I know who have a one page resume have less than ten years experience relevant to the role they're applying for.

The extra space can go to white space (so often neglected in a wall-of-text-must-cram-it-into-one-page resume) and ensuring the most important information is the most prominent.

Find some senior colleagues in your industry and ask for their feedback and knowledge of standards for your industry.
posted by canine epigram at 6:22 AM on January 12, 2012

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