Having been retained by a company to find them some great sales people, I have been on the receiving end of some poorly composed résumés. I have seen many versions of résumés from a chronological format to a skill based, to a cluttered first page filled with too much information and others that have little pertinent information.
Having a great updated résumé is mandatory for all of us, whether we are currently looking for a new job or not. In this crazy job market anything can happen as companies are still attempting to find ways to save money. You never know if you will be out of a job even if you are doing great work.
So what is the best format for a résumé?
The format I like to use is chronological. It is easy for a recruiter or hiring manager to quickly read rather than having to get deeply vested in your career. It makes it easier for them to discern whether you are a good fit for a position, without having to spend too much time on reading your résumé. Having a concise summary of who you are and what skills you bring to a company should be listed at the top of your résumé with a chronological history of your jobs below.
Here are a few tips for creating a great résumé:
1.) List your job title and company name under your title. Make sure to list what the company does and what city you worked in. Always include the month and year you worked there.
2.) Use Times Roman as the font in an 11 or 12 pt depending on how long your résumé is. List your contact information under your name which should be 14 pt. and the contact information 12 pt. I like to list an address on résumés, but if you are uncomfortable doing this, make sure to include the city you live, e-mail, LinkedIn user profile link and phone contact information.
3.) Under each job, create a list of bullet points of your successes at these firms. The last 2 positions should have the most information while the past jobs should have no more than 5-6 bullet points.
4.) If you have an advanced degree always list it after your name and in the summary section.
5.) Do not list your hobbies. This is not the place for this information. Its okay to list some of your volunteer work but don’t go overboard on this either.
6.) Keep your résumé to no longer than two pages.
7.) List the year you graduated from college. Older job applicants tend to leave off this information feeling they will be prejudged on their age, yet a recruiter can figure it out and leaving off the year you graduated from college or a Master’s program only looks like you are hiding your age and brings more negative attention to you.
8.) If you are in sales, make sure to list how much you sold every year and how much you sold toward your target quota. Also list some of the companies you sold to.
9.) Have someone besides yourself edit your résumé for typos and misuse of language.
Another tip would be to arrange your résumé in the LinkedIn format. It is one of the best and most understandable formats out there. Your résumé should complement your LinkedIn profile as an extension of who you are and what you do.