How long are resumes and CVs supposed to be anyways?

Contrary to the “old school” belief that you should stick to a one or two-page resume, it is quite standard – and almost expected of those candidates, headed for IT, Mid-Level or Executive-Level positions – apply using a three- to four-page resume, instead. While submitting a one- or two-page resume is fine, it can sometimes be counterproductive to the applicant. If you are someone, who has led significant initiatives, worked across various industries and have had your hand in multiple projects, you might find that it greatly detracts from your actual experience and minimizes your chances to be considered for the position that you are after.

So, how long should your actual resume be? Honestly, this depends on you, your experiences, your achievements and the role that you are after. You want to always include technical information and achievements, but you do not need to address specifics. You want to show cause and effect, while highlighting:

·         impact ·         influence ·         leadership ·         reductions
·         deductions ·         increases ·         improvements ·         assurances

You are also going to want to include industry jargon and key phrases that a hiring manager will be looking for when seeking out the perfect candidate electronically. Hitting on key words and phrases are essential to organically ranking within ATS engines – and appearing when being sought out. There are certain qualities and “areas of expertise” that a hiring manager will be looking for when filling each position.

Ultimately, you want to market yourself as the right person for the job. You want to show that you are an asset, that you take initiative and that you are a team player – not just a stand-in until someone better comes along to perform the same duties. We want to show that you are more than willing to go that extra mile and that you get results. Sometimes, this means influencing others to drive action on your behalf. We show all of this through cause and effect. To effectively add this to your resume, that’s going to take some space.

One-sheet resumes are awesome for inclusion with a more traditional-yet-lengthy resume. They are great for supplementary documentation. They can add pizzazz to any resume project. In fact, having an infographic-based graphic resume may be just what your candidacy needs to place you over the top. But, this is not enough for most applicants. And, graphic resumes do not convert well – if at all – into the engines that you will be applying. Ineffectively, you will not be seen.

 

Most entry-level candidates will be using a one- or two-page resume, based on internship, education, training and previous job experiences. But, again, Execs, Mid-Level Professionals, Project Managers… You will most likely succeed with a three- to four-page resume. You will find greater success from this process.

The Standard Breakdown:

  • Header – Only a few lines.
  • Biography – Three to six sentences, taking up to ¼ of the page.
  • Areas of Expertise – Up to ¼ of the page.
  • Career Summary or Field Experience – Usually 2 or 3 Pages.
  • Education – Varies based on traditional, on-the-job and independent studies.
  • Technical Proficiencies – Depends on career and experience but isn’t always included.
  • Awards & Honors – Varies, not always included.
  • Professional Affiliations – Varies, not always included.

** Some may include an area for career highlights – 4 to 10 bullets.

 

Cause and Effect | Duties Vs. Achievements.
Please keep in mind that we are going into 2018. Your future employer is less interested in what your job description required of you, than what you have done within that position. They want to know that if they bring you into their company – and make you a vital part of their team – how you will:

  • “Make me money.”
  • “Strengthen my teams.”
  • “Influence progress, productivity and performance.”
  • “Increase production.”
  • “Improve quality.”
  • “Impact operations.”
  • “Save me money.”
  • “Safeguard my company against liability.”
  • “Keep my customers satisfied.”

For every action, we want to highlight what you did and what the results were. If you simply carried out process, we what to know what it ensured operations. We want to show how YOU were that ONE to create change, impact operations and make a difference for the organization. Simply stating that you “made the company $200 in one day” is not enough. You might have sold only one product. However, elaborating that you “sold $200 in merchandise/100 pieces at a low traffic store” leaves your reader with more impact.

If I bring you to my company, what can I expect you to bring to the table? What does your past say about your potential action at my company? I want to know what you did, how you did it and sometimes why you did it. I want to see your thought pattern, and I definitely what to see what the results were.

 

Recruiters | The Love/Hate Relationship We Endure.

Recruiters are the amazing people that have dedicated their careers to helping others succeed within the corporate realm. They are paid by companies to scout and position top talents throughout the corporate hierarchy, and they do a great job in doing so.

Many recruiters are effective at getting their job done, effectively. Statistically, though, 80 to 90% of most candidates are never seen or called in to interview due to bad advice either 1.) received earlier in life, or 2.) by a recruiter that they just finished speaking with via phone.

Because recruitment is a traditional and noble career, many stick with “what works,” even if that method is outdated and no longer effective. Many of the best recruiters have been in this industry for 15 or more years, while others have been brought into the industry by veterans that have taught them everything they know. One thing that we are forgetting, however, is that with any industry, standards evolve. Technologies dictate new sciences. And, evolution brings about mandatory change.

There are still many recruiters, who will tell you that you need to submit a one- or two-page resume, telling you to keep your resume at a bare minimum. Many will also tell you to “reverse engineer” the job description if you want to get the job. And while they are the gatekeepers to your dream job by having access to exclusive pools, many of them are ineffective at actually getting you placed. Much of this surrounds the resume, what is being said, what isn’t being said and the keywords used.

We love recruiters. They are awesome people. But, at the same time – so are professional resume writers, who eat, breath and sleep industry-related standards surround the modern-day resume. Please take heed, and listen to us.

 

Today’s Job Search Sites | ATS Engines, Keywords & 15-Second Scans.

ATS Engine | Applicant Tracking SystemThe unique search engine and algorithm set into place by large, well-known job search sites, such as Monster, Glassdoor, Indeed, ZipRecruiter, Beyond, Career Builder, etc., helping recruiters and higher managers to source and acquire top talents for placement into positions of employment around the world.

As we all know, hiring managers often visually scan resumes, identifying key words, phrases and previously held positions before qualifying applicants for candidacy within their organizations. Especially at larger firms, we see hiring managers engaging in 6, 15 and 30 second scans to either eliminate or progress resumes through the acquisition process. Many dread this process, but understanding it will leave more doors open for future hire.

Applicant tracking systems (ATS) have greatly impacted the hiring process. Hiring managers are now able to source various databases for a resume that best fits the qualifications of the position they are looking to fulfill. Similar to a search engine, but yet complex in its own way, ATS allows hiring managers to search for keyword-specific job functions, as according hierarchy of actionable result.

Resumes found within the system are ranked based on quality, format, career history, a specific skillset and how areas of expertise are intertwined therein.  If properly formatted, the resume will rank, based on shelf hierarchies, and the hiring manager will most likely be exposed to the top candidates for each position. The only downfall is that, again, 80-90% of today’s top candidates are never seen!

For those candidates selected in the initial pick, your resumes will go on to the next step in the hiring process. Through innovation, hiring managers have been spending more time reading resumes in more detail before making the decision to toss your resume – or process it for follow-up and interview. These resumes will have “first-dibs” before the hiring manager returns to the next query of resumes from the pool.

For this reason, your resume should be visually appealing and in an easy-to-read format. Certain words should stand out, and you should drive impact. Because the engine doesn’t have a set number of positions that you can include (for the most part), your resume length won’t matter much and lengthier resumes have a better chance at being noticed. Without proper formats in place, however, your resume has a great chance of never being seen, scanned or pushed forward to the next stage in the process.

The longer the resume, the more it needs be in-line with today’s standards. Hiring managers look at multiple resumes a day. Let yours stand out. And, remember, first impressions are everything.

 

Shed Away Internships & Volunteer Work.

As an entry-level student, you are going to want to show as much “field experience,” as possible. You will want to use previous and/or current experiences to introduce your capabilities and what you can bring to the table. Highlighting these internship roles often allows us to show that we have experience working with established companies and organizations. They don’t always align with our target career goals, but that’s okay. They still serve a purpose.

For the first few years, you will include this information, whether or not they actually align with your target career. These positions allow us to provide you with soft skills and areas of specialization, while you get you foot in the door. Here, you will want to show your strengths and your value.

We want to direct focus towards leadership, teamwork, quality assurance and the customer experience. We want to show administrative strengths, your ability to coordinate and your ability to get the job done. In some cases, you will want to show your ability to take risks and your commitment to process improvements.

Once your career has hit that three-year mark and/or you have entered your third position in your career journey, we can shed this information. Instead of detailing it within your resume, save it for your LinkedIn profile. On your resume, itself, convert this information to a short byline to be included under your “Education.” And, call it a day.

If your career was interrupted by schooling or time-off for volunteer work – or if you held a significant role within a volunteer position, by all means include this information within your resume, especially to fill in gaps. Filling in gaps with this information allows the hiring manager to connect with you, as a person, by showing that you aren’t out there just sleeping on everyone’s couch or jumping from job-to-job.

 

This is NOT 1999.

Remember, we have entered a new era in resume writing. We do not add objective statements. We do not add reference sections. We do not talk about hobbies and interests, unless we have aligned ourselves with other organizations or projects in doing so.

At the same time, we must elaborate a bit further. We must hit on those keywords. And, we must market the hell out of ourselves to executives, higher ups and hiring managers, who will make or break our careers.

Leave out the unnecessary, but don’t be scared to “fluff yourself up.” Most people hate bragging about themselves. But, this is that one time that you “kinda have to do it.” So, do it. No one is here to judge. In fact, we want to know “what makes YOU so special anyways.” Don’t be afraid to let loose and just let them know!

 

CVs – A Whole New Breed.

First, you must learn and understand the difference between CV types. A CV, which means “Curriculum Vitae,” is very different based on which part of the world you are from and where you will be applying. Across the globe, the CV is synonymous with the standard resume. In the United States, however, there is a distinct difference between a CV and a resume.

An educational or scientific-based CV is a much more comprehensive resume than your standard professional or executive document. In fact, you will find publications, presentations and even references included on this form of resume. Depending on the target position, more than ten years of career history may also find its way onto this type of document (although it is still wise to only include thee last ten years, while making mere mention of those previous).

Th rest of the world refers to the resume as simply a CV, because of this it must include vital information regarding your date of birth, nationality, marital status and sex. This usually takes only one line to disseminate, however some countries have specific formats that they prefer that you follow. Some countries, such as Italy, require a privacy statement and waiver to be added at the end of each document. In this case, special columns may be necessary, causing the rest of your resume to lengthen in space.

So, what are the rules for length when dealing with a CV, either domestic or international? An international CV falls in-line with the same rules, as does the standard resume, while educational and scientific CVs can often scale an upwards of ten or more pages, based on added criteria.

 

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To Lead or Not to Lead?

Previously written and published on TalentZoo by Jessica N. Abraham-Hogan. It can be found here.

A very common misconception amongst the professional community, and especially where very talented people have the chance to “shine,” is that showing any type of leadership ability through resume or interview is a big “no-no.”

Many equate the demonstration of leadership ability as something that should only be done if one seeks an executive role or a management position. The reality is that lack of leadership could be the one thing holding them back from that higher-paying senior position within the team atmosphere — or even barring them from an entry-level position within a company that requires self-starters in a fast-paced environment.

Not showing leadership ability will not only hinder chances to get in the door, but also those for continuous promotion and increases in pay scale. As a matter of fact, lack of leadership ability may be why many have tenured a position for ten or more years without pay increase and without promotion. They are hardworking, serving employees, but they aren’t taking initiative. While they work hard and go above and beyond to meet goals, they may only be performing duties within the expectations of upper management.

It is important to rise above expectations, take initiative, and pull the team to the top in showing growth for a company and/or department while ensuring that the department continues to excel, as a unit, and that no employee is left behind, fired, or laid off.

In the case of a resume, why would a future employer or hiring manager choose someone that has only done what was dictated to them when they can select someone who will own that position and turn it into a driving force within the company? After all, business is business; in the end, numbers, process improvement, and team development are all that will matter.

Selecting a professional that will be the best possible janitor they can be will assure client satisfaction in returning to the urinal for another “splash” without hesitation. It will ensure that the company gains a positive reputation in a world full of critiques; where the smallest variables lead to the largest deciding factor and biggest impact within the company structure.

When a candidate selects achievements over duty and turns duty into achievement within a resume draft, an employer will be anxious to hire that candidate — or at least meet them for a coffee. Showing ability and how one has made an impact, how they have made a difference, and why no one else is more qualified for a particular position will push executives to favor one candidate over another — even if another candidate was already in the running for hire.

In addition to leadership abilities, one should also show personality and charisma. Allowing future employees to realize personality and character, high energy, and a good-spirited nature will also impact hiring decisions. Showing good personality will tone down a misconceived ideal one and will lead decision makers to find pleasure in making acquaintance and especially doing business. One doesn’t have to lead a team to be successful, but leading from within will guarantee a job well done and a future most secure.

Are you ready to “WOW” your future boss and/or hiring manager? If so, get with us. Let us write for you!

Marketing Through Resume: Achievements Over Duty

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This article was previously featured on TalentZoo.com. Click here to see the original article by Jessica N. Abraham-Hogan.

Aside from the new standards of quality that have been instituted into the new resume requirements for getting past Applicant Tracking Systems, we have to realize that, for most of our lives, we have been writing the resume wrong. Professional resume writers are often baffled at how some of the top professionals at Fortune 500 companies have included so few achievements within their resumes, but have listed many duties!

For the most part, employers already know what your job duties entail. As a matter of fact, it is actually the duty of Human Resources or Administration personnel to know this while recruiting and screening talent.

So, what is it that you achieved with this talent? This is what they are most interested in. They want to know what impact you can bring to their company. They want to know that you can make a difference.

Oftentimes, applicants are worried about the wrong things. For those that have not created financial impact, they may have made a difference through leadership or process improvements. They may have contributed to a process that made things easier for upper management to make a difference. They don’t realize that a little bit of elaboration and powerful wording can really make what they did a great achievement.

Everyone picks on the janitor, so I will pick on the plumber. Let’s say the plumber put on his resume:

  • Plunged toilets and ran chemicals down the drain.

ASK YOURSELF: What would have made this line more impactful?

  • Cleared drains and sewer pipes, plunging and snaking residue from clogged drains, while ensuring sanitation through clean flow of water wastes and avoidance of overflow in living and working areas.

Believe it or not, this method will not only impress employers and hiring managers, but it will also feed ATS with more keywords that will ensure your position at your dream job.

With the standard being set to inclusion of only the last 10 years of work experience, this will help make up for all those great positions and companies that you were only allowed to “make mention of” within your resume. A little elaboration will go a long way.

Are you ready to “WOW” your future boss and/or hiring manager? If so, get with us. Let us write for you!

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Marketing Through Resume: Position Yourself for Greatness

As a professional in an ever-evolving world of technology, it is absolutely important to keep abreast of changes that occur within the standard operations of society and hiring processes.

Not many realize that with the evolution of information systems, most hiring processes are initiated, if not fully executed, Online. Therefore, Hiring Managers and Executive Decision Makers are eliminating the number of resumes that they are scouring each week in order to streamline processes and maximize productivity in the job space, while keeping staffing down to a minimum.

Let’s take a deeper look into this science and discover how to get passed all systems filters to, at least, be considered for the position that many are applying for.

Did you know, that as this World of Technology evolves, so does the way the business world approaches Talent Acquisitions and Recruiting?

Professionals aren’t just sitting back behind a desk glancing over resumes on a day-to-day basis. Time is valuable and successful corporations are always looking for ways to cut back on unnecessary spending. As earlier mentioned, many recruiters are more than likely sitting in front of a computer and pounding away at their keyboards, seeking out potential candidates that meet the specific needs of an employer.

Whether it is a proprietary system, hosted on internal servers, or through a major job search platform, hiring personnel are able to search out the perfect candidate based on keywords searches. Often, more time is placed in discovering which keywords directly meet those needs of an employer than sifting through a plethora of candidates that do not meet them.

As many job search sites and resume writing services will point out, there is an algorithm in tact that allows recruiters to search for who they want and to avoid those that they do not. This system is dubbed “ATS,” a shortened version of “Applicant Tracking System;” and it is what will make or break a candidate’s forge to the top of the figurative totem pole.

You see, per position a company seeks to fulfill, an average of 250 to 300 candidates are competing to be seen and invited for interview. Unfortunately for most, they will never be seen. The “select few” will be invited to join the hiring process and asked to report for interview. Believe it or not, but many of the top professionals applying per position will actually be overlooked. Hence, these awesome candidates might never have their chance at a dream position and will remain in their current until they finally “hack” the system.

So, how do you hack this system? How do you rise to the top and become recognized as “cream of the crop?”

This is simple. Treat your career path as a brand, while showcasing brandYOU through the use of Internet Marketing techniques to enhance your presence in tracking systems. While ATS works slightly differently than Search Engine Optimization (SEO), the core concepts are totally the same!

Similar to SEO, ATS seeks out applicants based on specific keywords. The more keywords to match word-for-word, the better! The applicant will score a higher position within this algorithm. Unlike SEO, these keywords must be presented exactly as described by qualifying terms, as opposed to being strategized for conversational, organic placement and tone. Industry-specific terminology is highly encouraged.

Resumes are expected to be matter of fact, while engaging readers in a professional and narrative description of an applicant’s work history. This means that a phrase, such as “preparation of slideshows” would hold little weight, if any, to “slideshow preparation.” It gets even more complex.

Because ATS seeks applicant achievement over duty, it would be wise to include the latter preceded by a strong action verb and a powerful adjective. Whereas one may include, “Engaged in slideshow preparation” on their resume, another may include “Developed and executed highly professional slideshow preparations.” Not only did the second choice include powerful descriptors, but it also showed process, ability and to what quality. It also showed that it happened on more than one occasion; and therefore, it was not a fluke!

While both verbiages may find themselves ranking higher within ATS than those without optimization, the achievement-based resume will soar much higher. Once these resumes reach the hands of the talent recruiters, which do you think will receive further consideration?

Keeping your language brief within a resume writing is the objective, but the manner in which this is done, is also important. In marketing yourself, you have to sell your achievements by showing how even your performance of duties have made a difference.

Your resume must flow smoothly in keeping a reader engaged. As a matter of fact, your resume must flow smoothly, because your resume will merely be skimmed the first few times that it is read. Keeping content mapped out and consistent, the layout must reflect what the body is trying to convey to your future employer.

Structure is equally important to the Applicant Tracking System. Professional profiles may or may not be read with the ATS (The depends on the complexity of the engine being used.), but they must be present when distributing your resume to employers that do get to see your resume.

Within each resume, it is highly recommended that one includes a “Competencies Section,” with word choices that must completely be spelled out, at least once prior to abbreviation throughout the resume. This section also acts as a meta tagged “keywords” section within SEO to enhance your resumes overall potential. While many include these keywords into a section described as “Areas of Expertise,” one merely should feel comfortable in their ability to complete duties found within.

Expanding upon the ideal that layouts and consistencies are important for ATS and in mapping out your career, layouts keep resumes organized, experiences highlighted and abilities grouped. It also helps ATS differentiate the content you are submitting, especially in the case of extracting information to a separate database. In a more traditional format, it leaves your resume more visually appealing, balancing out white and negative spacing, and allows your resume to be properly scanned over in the second round of the hiring process, therefore passing the “30-second test.”

In physical hiring processes, a hiring manager is opt to starting at the expertise section, scan through previous employers, read your full education level and then check out the rest of the resume. Sometimes, they go directly to education, skipping experience, altogether, and continue at your affiliations and technical proficiencies. If they are intrigued, they will return to your biography, and then they will read to see if you are worthy of the position they are moved to interview you for.

You want to draw eyes to each section of your resume and encourage them to actually read what is written there. Avoid typos and formatting errors. They aren’t read by ATS and can negatively sway the hiring manager to dropping your resume into the garbage bin.

Speaking of garbage bin, industry rules have changed. You do not need to have a references section in your resume. You can drop that in the trash. Because many people lie about references and have others lie for them, it has become an unnecessary part of the resume process. It also takes up space that you can be using for something more valuable. It is wise, however, to keep a resume sheet on hand if your future employer requests one. This also goes for project sheets, which outline project histories, portfolio pieces and publications, unless you have a Curriculum Vitae (CV) resume type.

In creating proper spacing, keeping your resume to a proper link and utilizing negative space, one must consider level of hierarchy. While in ATS, there is no limit to how much space is being used. Understand, if you make it through the computerized process, a warm-blooded soul will be holding your resume in their hands. Length must be made appropriate to your level of hierarchy on the corporate ladder.

It is commonplace that professionals who have held tenure at a job site, entry-level personnel and students may only detail their resume to one page. However, there are some entry level personnel who hold hands with professionals of all industries that will find two-pages tells a clearer story of who they are, whether they have summarized this or are providing quality content in enhancing their resume to meet specific job descriptions. Hiring managers find it acceptable for medical personnel, executives and IT professionals to submit resumes at three to four pages.

Military personnel, medical doctors and professionals in the scientific community are expected to have four or more pages of resume material. This is where special resumes are created, distinctly prepared by federal standards and in CV-structured layouts.

Most resumes only include the last 10-12 years to compensate for age-stereotyping hindrances in the hiring process. An undated summary statement may be italicized below to show evidence of a career journey and previous experience in correlation to older-yet-relevant positions held. Remember to present yourself how you want to be perceived. This is Branding 101.

While most resumes are lacking a graphic appeal, many new designs have found ways to give resumes a persona. After all, when looking at a resume, one becomes familiarized with the person that they are potentially hiring. Your layout will tell a hiring manager your level of expertise within the corporate machine.

Graphic elements can hint at an “out-of-the-box” or innovative personality, highlighting your ability for creativity. The problem, however, is that ATS often has a hard time reading graphic resumes. And, while there are ways to get around this issue, most creative resumes suffer because some element or another is lacking in the process. Only a select few within the resume-writing world know how to get around this problem and can optimize your resume for discover in ATS engines.

Finally, in marketing yourself through a resume design, one must be aware of engine capabilities. While .doc extensions aren’t often looked at as a “finished project” in a world, where creating a .pdf document helps corporations protect against security and fraud while accepted as official and polished, .doc extensions are the most acceptable form of submission in this day. This document type provides ATS with an easier means of extracting your personal information than does .pdf, .rtf, .txt and even .docx.

Being mindful of your audience, keep both .pdf documents and .doc on hand at all times. After all, you may be submitting your resume directly to a decision maker and should plot to appear as polished as possible. In the end, it all comes down to one thing… BrandYOU.

How are you marketing yourself? What observation of your character would you like them to experience?

Stay mindful of ATS when submitting resumes to corporate engines and job search sites; and remember, I am only a messenger of what experts have analyzed over the years and through experience. Good luck!

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