Résumés are changing! …yes, yet again.

With the narrowing of qualifications and with companies yelling and screaming that they can’t find “qualified candidates,” résumés should be changing to accommodate these needs.

Are you? Are you changing? Are you changing your résumé to meet their changing needs? You should be. Here’s how.

This is for ALL jobseekers: early, mid-career and after that…

Résumés may be the bane of both jobseekers and hiring professionals. Most of the clients I work with believe that loading up their résumé with every bit of information is the way to go.

My experience is that jobseekers, by-and-large, believe that if they can show broad sets of skills, that at least some of them will be what their competitors don’t have. And at least some of them will be what a prospective employer is seeking. They believe that this will give them an advantage from the perspective of hiring professionals as well.

Millennials take note:

This blog may seem like it’s aimed at mid-career or late-career jobseekers, however, that’s not the case at all. You have some kind of experience. Even if your experience is at the coffee shop, there are relevant skills that you are developing and go on your résumé. These skills can be catered to almost any position from entry-level through the first seven or eight years of your career.

Is it true? Is a broader résumé better?

I don’t think so. When I talk to hiring professionals, they are constantly complaining that they are “bleary-eyed” from reading résumés. If the résumé is longer than two pages, they simply can’t read any more.

When I asked over 25 recruiters and Human Resource professionals why a résumé could only be two pages, they were adamant! “Do you know how long it takes us to go through all that clutter to find what we are looking for?” (Clutter – their word, not mine.)

(My next question was a request for them to help me understand exactly what they look for so we could put it one place for them…that made us friends.)

Three reasons why a broad-based résumé isn’t helpful?

  1. Because a lot of it isn’t relevant.
  2. And the more irrelevant the information, the less time a reader will spend.
  3. The reader thinks, “Hmm…this person doesn’t have what I’m looking for.”
  4. Because extra, irrelevant information dilutes the message, which should be: you have the right qualifications.

What are hiring professionals looking for?

It depends who we are talking about. However, if we know what information is important to our readers, then we can eliminate what isn’t important. Here’s my top list:

HR and recruiters want to know:

  • If you are qualified.
  • If you have the top, core skillsets they need for the specific job they are trying to fill.
  • If you have the potential to be promoted.

Hiring managers want to know:

  • How long will it take you to be productive?
  • How much initial “hand-holding” will be needed?
  • Will you “play nice” and get along with the team?
  • Will you will take direction, criticism, and be flexible?

Extremely important points about résumé readers:

  1. They don’t read top to bottom.
  2. They don’t read left to right.
  3. They “wander around” looking for something….yes…something that is …(wait for it) relevant!
  4. They, generally speaking, don’t have time to ponder a bullet. Example, a fast reader may not translate “event manager” into “project manager.” Therefore: word choices must also be, once again …the key work is …relevant!
  5. Bullets that are longer than one line usually don’t get read.
  6. Bullets that are longer than one line usually don’t get read. (I thought I should say that twice.)
  7. Bullets that include results statements are usually more than one line….separate results from activities.
  8. Ruthlessly eliminate any bullet with generic, vanilla information. Either add something pertinent, or take it out. (Example: Strong Communication Skills…be ruthless!)

Lessons learned for today’s résumés for jobseekers:

  1. Present the skills that are relevant to the specific position as listed in the job description.
  2. Include both hard and soft skills.
  3. Select bullets that directly speak to the required skills for the position.
  4. Eliminate bullets –be ruthless.

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Jobseekers must keep up with and accommodate the changing needs of today’s hiring community. Failure to do so, will likely result in elimination from consideration.

The needs of companies and hiring professionals are changing at a faster rate than ever before. Some jobs are being eliminated and new positions are moving into the jobs market.

It is possible to master the change process and remain relevant, active, and maintain an income stream.

Neil Patrick and I understood these changes which are coming quickly! That’s why we wrote

Part 1 presents the Six Engines of Change and tells you what you need to know so you can read the jobs market and stay ahead of the curve.

Part 2 outlines a process to re-evaluate your skills as changes occur and establish your credibility with potential employers.

I hope you get the book. I hope you read it and embrace these changes so you and your family can enjoy the revenue you need and a future that is bright.

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3 thoughts on “Résumé changes: How to select the right bullet points

  1. […] always excellent career coach Marcia LaReau recently posted on the importance of selecting the right bullet points for your resume when applying for a job. […]

  2. Great post, Marcia. Job seekers need to know that one size does not fill all, and you can’t just throw the seame resumé over the wall (and into the black hole) and hope to be noticed. In my blog series “Three Audiences – Three Questions” (http://www.aurelia.ca/2011/02/three-audiences-three-questions/ ) I talk about the tension generated by trying to satisfy the person with the power to reject, the person with the power to recommend, and the person with the power to hire. All of them are looking for different information, and it pays to craft and select (bullet) points to make the best impact.

    1. Thank you Jennifer!
      I’ll gladly promote your article! It sounds like you have a terrific formula to help jobseekers do a better job! Thanks!

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