The questions surrounding the “do’s” and “don’ts” of the resume is often times objective. Always be mindful of the person you're asking for guidance, and its important to remember that no matter what anyone says, there is truly no right or wrong way you can craft a resume.
That said, there are some fundamental components of a resume. Based on thousands of resumes I've personally reviewed and feedback from dozens of hiring managers and members of HR in my network, here are five tips, or reoccurring themes to keep in mind when putting together your resume.
1. Most relevant experience at the top of the page.
- Time spent on resumes is limited so after your name and contact info (PLEASE don’t forget your name, phone number and email address), have the most pertinent experience, reflective of the job you are applying to, at the top of the page.
2. Keep it clean, clear and concise!
- Eliminate those long-winded objective and summary statements. You will be hard-pressed to find a hiring manager willing to read through paragraphs on your resume. Utilize bullet point highlights wherever you can, making it easy to read, and pinpoint your experiences.
- People’s eyes gravitate to numbers on documents so use that to your advantage by displaying your results of the job through numerical data.
4. Forget the Fancy Formatting.
Unless you are applying for a creative design or relative position, stick with traditional resume formatting, no need to spend the money on resume software. Usually, when you apply to jobs your resume is uploaded into an Applicant Tracking System and you may be hurting yourself if that slick resume you paid for doesn’t parse correctly into their internal system.
5. Your resume is your ‘book cover’ not the entire book.
- While some may debate on the ‘desired’ page length, it’s more valuable to think of your resume as the cover of a book. When sending a resume in through an application, the goal is ultimately to pique the interest of the hiring manager to get you in the door, where they want to ‘read more of the book.’ When you walk into the bookstore and scan through the shelves, the cover can make or break your decision to buy. Give your career highlights on your resume, enough to entice the reader to want to dive into the rest of the book, which is spending more time with you!
At the end of the day, if you’re continuously networking with industry peers even when not actively searching for a new job, your resume becomes a formality. Mentors, colleagues, even recruiters will openly give you feedback on a resume, so really the only thing you should be ‘spending’ on your resume is your time.
Jason Stein is the VP of Recruiting and Development at Sports Business Solutions and he leads the companies staffing and recruiting efforts. He also helps support Front Office Sports, a growing media company in sports business. Prior to all of that he spent 5 years at Federal Consulting Resources (FCR), an executive, management, and technical staffing firm focused in the Government Services sector.