Two Q’s that Must go Together

December 1, 2015 at 9:00 am | Published by Shannon Spinks

As you can imagine, we see a lot of resumes. I mean a LOT of resumes. We’re either reading resumes that have been submitted, or we’re reading resumes that we are sourcing through job boards and other networks.

For the most part, the resumes we see are pretty good. We primarily deal with mid to senior level professionals so it’s not their first rodeo. That being said, often times our candidates haven’t been on the market in a looooooong time.

There are all kinds of resume tips if you search the web and everybody has an opinion…including me. Mine are pretty simple:

1) Keep your heading simple with name and contact information

2) Provide an executive summary if you like, but keep it to one brief paragraph

3) List your jobs in order of most recent to latest. Include the dates. Don’t be overly concerned about multiple job transitions, but if you have them, include a one to three word parenthetical reason for the transition (laid off; relocation, recruited, etc.)

4) USE BULLETS! Please avoid using long paragraphs and run-on sentences telling us about all the wonderful things you’ve done. Stick with dynamic bullets indicating leadership, initiative, accountability, and continuous improvement.

5) Quantify, don’t just qualify. (The 2 Q’s) Use whatever appropriate measure for your function. Increased sales % or $; Saved money % or $; Reduced turnover; increased production, etc. Hiring managers want to know that you understand your role is either to increase sales or efficiency. That can be distilled from any role.

6) As seasoned professionals, don’t feel confined to keep your resume to 2 pages, but don’t go 4-5 either. Exceptions may include someone with primarily a contracting career or a published PhD.

7) Use good sense and know that recruiters, HR professionals and hiring managers are looking for direct correlations between their needs and your skill set. Make it easy for them to make the connection.

8) I always appreciate a cover letter. Personalize it such that you are applying for the job in question. This is the opportunity for you to connect the dots between the job description and your resume. The subtle message to the hiring manager here is that you are committed to making the individualized effort. That is impressive, and suggestive of the commitment you will show to the job.

9) Don’t be discouraged if you don’t hear back. We have a policy of responding to absolutely every resume we receive, no matter how far off the mark they are. But I know a lot of recruiters and HR managers don’t provide that courtesy and you’re left wondering if your resume even got there. We can’t change their behavior, but you just keep doing the right thing. Kind of like throwing trash in the trash can when no one is looking. It’s just the right thing to do.

I just noticed my bullets are getting longer. I better stop now before I am victim to my own preaching. Good luck out there!