As a highly successful recruiter, I get asked this question almost every day. I see resumes that are one page because they were “told they had to be” or they hired a professional writer to get it down to one page because “everyone says it should only be one page.” When I get asked the question, my go-to answer is this:
Think of the 6 second and 4 quadrant rule. You must capture the attention of the reader in 6 seconds with the content in the upper left quarter of the first page to give them a reason to read more. Mind blowing concept and what happened to the old rules?
Resumes used to be a simple chronological history of your job description. The old attitude of “if I take the time to apply, they should give me the courtesy of an interview if I meet the qualifications” is long gone. Let’s put this in perspective, one hospital I work with receives no less than 8,000 resumes every month. Do you think they are going to read them all, they simply can’t. Enter the advent of keyword checker software that ‘scores’ your resume and if you don’t get a minimum score based on current keywords and phrases, a human never sees your resume. May not be fair, may not be very effective, may pass over some excellent candidates, but its current reality. All companies don’t use these, but they are becoming more common. (This is one of the many benefits of working with an Executive Recruiter, like me, who will champion your resume directly to the right people!)
The best approach is to think of your resume as a first interview with no one there to explain any detail. If that means your resume trails to three pages because you have a great career, then so be it. Many argue with me on this, but I have had the great honor of receiving many awards at Johnson Search Group for placements and it seems to work well for my candidates.
Rethink your attitude towards resume writing. A resume is simply a communication tool, and the rule for all communication is that the understanding is in the hands of the receiver.
So, before you submit that resume, ask yourself these 7 questions:
- If you were the hiring manager, would you select your resume among thousands to interview?
- Is it completely free from spelling and grammar mistakes?
- Time it; does it pass the six-second rule?
- Does it pass the four-quadrant rule?
- Did you include the months and years of employment?
- Is it ‘age and gender scrubbed’ – don’t include the year you went to high school for example or that you took time off to have children
- Last suggestion, you are not being hired by a recruiter, so why in the world would you write your resume to please them? If the recruiter can’t tell you what the client wants, why continue to use them?
If you find yourself needing more direction, please feel free to explore our website for additional insights on resumes, interviewing, and how to be successful in your job search. We’re happy to help!