Thursday, February 14, 2013

Test Your Resume IQ

I often tell people that resumes are like beauty. They are very subjective and everyone has a different opinion of what it right and wrong or good and bad. I think one of the reasons that I enjoy writing resumes is that there are no rules. Me being the "rebel" that I am, I enjoy creating a document that works for the individual and does not have to comply with a set of rules.

Although there are no hard and fast resume rules, there are guidelines that you can follow to ensure your resume is as effective as possible. Take this "test" to see how much you know about optimizing your marketability with your resume.

True or False: When writing a resume, more is always better.
False. There is such a thing as too much information. Your resume should seldom be longer than two pages and must only contain the information that is relevant to the job and the employer for which you are applying. Providing too much information will hide the important info and may scare away your potential employer.

True or False: Your resume must contain every job you have held since you graduated high school.
False. A resume is a generally accepted ten year picture of your work history. If you have only been in a professional career field for six years, you don't have to go back ten years. However, no matter if you have 25 years of experience, you should not go back further than ten years to avoid age discrimination.

True or False: Your resume should be generic enough to cover a variety of career fields.
False. There is no such thing as an effective generic resume. If you try to appeal to everyone with your resume, you will end up targeting no one. Pick a target, define your marketable skills in that career field, and highlight your most relevant accomplishments to effectively target a specific career field. This may mean that you need multiple resumes.

True or False: Employers like to know about your interests outside of work.
It depends. I know that is cheating, but whether or not you add your outside interests or volunteerism depends on how relevant they are to the job. If you have been a mechanic volunteering as as forestry worker for the last ten years and you want to work as a forest ranger, then you better include this info on your resume. However, most employers don't care that you like macrame and long walks on the beach.

True or False: A great resume will get you the job.
False. A resume is not designed to get you the job. Its purpose is plain and simply to land an interview. Few employers see a resume and make the decision to hire you without first conducting and interview. However, keep in mind that a poorly written resume can cost you the job opportunity.

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