Tag Archives: employment section

Shorter and shorter we go when it comes to the résumé

The other day I received a text message from my daughter that read, “Need water. Bring some.” Now, someone who didn’t know the situation–she was life guarding at a pool near our home, so bringing her the much needed water was no big deal; I didn’t mind the rudeness of her text; and I didn’t want her to suffer–would probably hit erase and not give it another thought.

Her text message made me think about the course of the résumé, how they’re getting shorter and shorter, until, I fear, they’ll resemble a text message.

According to some résumé writing pundits and many recruiters, less is better when it comes to the overall content of your résumé. Just a couple of years ago this belief was hitting the streets; now lesser than less is better is the word. I tell my jobseekers who haven’t hunted for jobs in the past ten years that writing résumés has changed since then; hell, it’s changed since the past couple of years.

We all know that recruiters and hiring managers are inundated with hundreds of résumés for one job and that Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS)–that identify keywords–are necessary to make the process more manageable. Further, résumés that don’t speak to employers’ needs are considered as useful as a paper bag. Accomplishments are essential, as they show the value you can bring to the company. Résumés are given six to 20 seconds to be scanned and determined whether they’ll be read more thoroughly. All of this has been stated ad nauseam.

With this said, those four-line, no nonsense personal profiles can be reduced to a one-line list of value-added words, which looks more like a branded headline than a personal profile. All of this must be done while still addressing the needs of the employer and including keywords. This requires the best of the best editing. Words like, “Experienced,” “Innovative,” Results-oriented,” are out the window…have been out the window.

Job summaries in the experience section have likewise been reduced from, say, four lines to two. This is where you state your duties and a quick blurb on your value-added; and for those who believe the more duties, the better, you are out of luck. Following the job summary should be bulleted accomplishments that, you guessed it, must be reduced from, say, two lines to one. While you don’t have a lot of real estate to elaborate on your accomplishments,  a one-liner will have to do.

Are we looking at this through a single lens, though? Are we assuming all recruiters or hiring managers are reading tons of résumés and just trying to keep their head above water, or that recruiters are the only ones reading our résumés? Employers of start-ups, smaller companies, and nonprofits spend more than 20 seconds to peruse a résumé before reading it in its entirety, because they have more time.

Before you tightly edit your two-page résumé, think about to whom you’re sending it. A hiring authority who doesn’t read thousands of résumés, might be confused by a one-line personal profile that resembles more of a branding headline than the typical profile. Think of your audience.

As for my daughter’s text messages, I know what she means when a terse one-line message hits my screen. It would be nice if she would add, “Love, your daughter.”