What Your Resume Says About You
Hiring managers typically spend up to 20 seconds looking at a resume before putting it the “no” or “review later” pile. With an abundance of talented candidates, and very little time to screen them, most executives ship their resumes to an HR department or lower level manager and don’t read them until minutes before your interview.
But if your resume happens to catch their eye before that time, you’re much more likely to have their full attention and be remembered when they make the final decision. So how do you make your resume stand out in a crowd? And what does it really say about you, as an individual, a professional, and potential hire? These are the things most managers will think about you based on your resume, long before they meet you for an interview:
The length - If your resume is too short, it means you didn’t really apply for the job. You’re just sending a generic form to probably a hundred employers, and aren’t truly invested in getting this job. However, if it’s too long, hiring managers will assume you’re not able to concisely convey what you need, or are trying to cover up for lack of qualifications/experience. The only people who need 2+ page resumes are senior level managers or executives.
The layout - Some people appreciate visually appealing resumes, if they are somewhat minimal, creative and help the reader find key points. However, if it’s too “artsy,” you may not be seen as a professional (unless you’re applying to be a graphic designer). Of course, sending a bulleted list of past positions and your education will not impress either.
Quality and accuracy of information - If your resume has every position you’ve ever worked (starting with high school cashier or busboy) listed, it will show employers you didn’t take any time updating before you sent it. They want to see you understand the position and what experience/skills you need to fulfill it. What you include on your resume shows them whether or not you understand what skills are important, and if you have enough experience or education to have those skills mastered.
The “Voice” - Your writing style is your “voice,” and should be taken into consideration when writing or revising your resume. Depending on the position you’re applying to, you may want to make your resume style more friendly and personable, or more conservatively professional. Your voice should also reflect who you are as a person. It’s hard to write in a tone out of character for you, and your potential employers can tell if it’s fake or not. Show a little of you, and a little of the company in the tone of your resume.
Clarity - Your resume should easily convey confidence and competence for the job. Is it generalized, or does it seem like you genuinely know about your industry, your niche within that industry, and are confident that you can perform well within the company? Do you convey a clear message on your career projections in the next few years? Or did you write this resume to satisfy any employer looking to hire? Make sure you are clear on these things before applying.