Resumes: It’s All in the Presentation


Resume writing has evolved significantly over the years. There was a time when you could put just enough information on your resume to get some interest from HR or the hiring manager and get that phone interview or onsite to elaborate further, and hopefully, seal the deal.

Now, you need to have a much more detailed resume sharing all your experience and having the proper “buzz” words to catch their eye; or in most cases, the software doing the scanning for them. Here are some facts you need to know when updating your resume.

Your resume is your first interview

Seriously. Slapping that puppy together in a rush to get it out, is going to stop you dead in your tracks. You should understand what position you are applying for, what the position entails, how your experience fits in, and customize your resume accordingly. One size fits all = a BIG FAT lie!

Chopping it down to 10 years

To all my more experienced professionals out there: be careful how much you chop. Going back to my first point, you will need to customize your experience. Leaving off years of experience can put a kibosh on any chance at getting a callback. I understand that you are trying to stay fresh and competitive, but in doing so, you could be selling yourself short. I suggest customizing and making sure that if the experience they are looking for was 15 or 20 years ago – ensure your resume reflects that 20 years’ experience. If they don’t see what they are looking for on the paper; you won’t get a call or a chance to defend your experience that is not reflected on your resume.

Presentation, presentation, presentation!

Spend some time on your resumes. Bad formatting, misspellings, and poor grammar will get you every time. I’ve seen some creative and interesting resumes but remember that sometimes overdoing it in the opposite direction can be just as bad as not doing enough. Present a clean, well formatted, detailed, grammatically correct resume and you won’t go wrong. If your resume is scanned and you’ve got some crazy graphics and formatting, it could alter your resume, potentially dropping important information.


No! Don’t do it!! Never put your references on your resume. If an employer would like to check your references, they will ask for them. References get stale; they can develop grudges; references can change phone numbers. You may think all is good, but it just takes one call and a disgruntled reference to put an end to everything. Another reason not to add references? You are giving leads to employers and even recruiters to scour through. Your references may even be called to interview against you! It has happened.

One-page resumes

Really? That might be great for someone who has had one job and held it for 5 years, but this is the real world. Trying to squeeze 5 or even 15 years onto one page isn’t going to benefit you. I hear this all the time: “my career counselor or the resume service said it should really be one page – no more than 10 years’ experience.” Why would you do yourself a disservice by censoring your career experience and accomplishments? It just doesn’t make sense.

Job hunting typically isn’t fun; it can be stressful and tiresome. A resume that properly represents your experiences and accomplishments and that is complete, clean and neat looking will help alleviate some of that stress. Wonder why you aren’t getting any calls? Look at your resume. Then call your references and ask how their job hunting is going.