How long should your resume be?
University exams teach us a funny lesson. The lengthier the answer sheet, the elaborate the answer is perceived to be and better are the chances for scoring higher. A similar tendency is observed with job seekers too. Having spent a good number of years in Human Resources, it amuses me to find candidates still obsessed with lengthy resumes.
There are two fundamental beliefs about Resumes that need to change
1. One is a natural tendency to provide every detail possible about themselves in a resume. People must realise that a resume is not an auto-biography. In fact some of the big hiring companies have their own candidate application forms that will need to be filled as the company prefers to have their assessments and data standardized
2. Two is a super duper assumption that the interviewer is going to scan through every word written in a resume. If the job is a hot vacancy, the company will naturally receive hundreds of resumes. Will the interviewer ever have the time?
Having said all of the above, no company defines the length of the resume of its candidates. One must remember that every resume is a means to sell your credentials to a prospective employer. The crisper we present, the better it is. I have observed good resumes to be within two pages. If it runs into more than three pages, the candidate is probably a genius! Companies should be running towards geniuses. But thats not recruitment. Its talent acquisition!
A resume plays a more important role during the interview. In the ideal sense, it acts as the perfect anchor to chart the course of discussion in an interview. Therefore it is important for people to know what to highlight and where to highlight in the resume
Remember these pointers while drafting your resume,
1. Freshers: It will be good if freshers restrict their resume to a maximum of one page.
2. Abstract career objectives: The career objective is NOT mandatory in a resume. You might be well served without one rather than go for something with high flowing vocabulary
3. Covering letter: A covering letter is not mandatory as it suits a senior position than for positions requiring mass hiring.
4. Organise: It is important to present the information in an organised manner. It saves time for the recruiter and space for the candidate. Eg. Bullet points or tabulations help in place of lengthy paragraphs
5. Highlight right: Highlight the right peaks in your career and the relevant accomplishments than dump all information
6. Customise: Every opportunity is unique. Therefore, review the relevance of your resume accordingly to the opportunity and edit appropriately. Having the same copy shared with all companies takes away a slight edge from you
7. Positioning: Spread key accomplishments in your resume across various sections rather than confine it to a single section. This will attract the recruiter’s attention and keep him interested in the uniqueness of your profile.
And, one of the biggest predictabilities of recruitment is that despite submitting a well prepared resume, the interviewer is still going to ask you “Tell me something about yourself”
I shall discuss about the million dollar question “Tell me about yourself” in the next article. Until then, Happy learning!
Shashikanth Jayaraman is a Human Resource professional, Motivational speaker, and founder of HR Sangam. He has reached out to develop over 1.9 lakh students over the past decade and is embarking on a mission to transform the capabilities of the student community through his initiative “Present Tense to Future Perfect”. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org