When we’re conducting a CFO search for clients, it’s not unusual for me to read through (yes, I actually read them) hundreds of resumes looking for people I’d like to get to know better in an interview. Through the process, I sometime feel a little like Goldilocks; some resumes are too long and detailed, some are too brief, and some are just right.
How Not to Get the Interview
So what makes a “perfect” resume? Every reviewer is different, but there are definitely some basic guidelines to follow to give you the best shot at making it to the interview round. In his LinkedIn article, “The Biggest Mistakes I See on Resumes and How to Correct Them”, Laszlo Bock, SVP People Operations at Google, outlines 5 of the biggest “don’t”s when crafting your resume. They are:
Either they bug you or they don’t. Some people get really upset at the notion that an otherwise perfect candidate might not get chosen due to something as small as a typo in a resume. Bock’s point about typos is that some reviewers may interpret them as a lack of attention to detail. The fix is easy; proofread your resume from bottom to top or have a friend take a look with a fresh set of eyes.
With resumes, less really is more. Not only does conciseness ensure your entire resume will be read, it demonstrates your ability to boil things down to their essence. As Bock writes:
A crisp, focused resume demonstrates an ability to synthesize, prioritize, and convey the most important information about you. Think about it this way: the *sole* purpose of a resume is to get you an interview. That’s it. It’s not to convince a hiring manager to say “yes” to you (that’s what the interview is for) or to tell your life’s story (that’s what a patient spouse is for). Your resume is a tool that gets you to that first interview. Once you’re in the room, the resume doesn’t matter much.
Your resume isn’t the place to get creative (unless you’re applying for a position in design or such). Standard fonts, margins, spacing and such make for an easy-to-follow document that will get read in its entirety. Reviewers know when you’re trying to cram a bunch of info on the page by using small margins or tiny fonts. Bock also suggests saving your resume as a PDF for easy viewing across platforms.
Trying to skirt or flagrantly violating confidentiality guidelines of current or former employers is a big no-no according to Bock. After all, how can the prospective employer expect you to uphold their confidentiality rules if you’ve name-dropped in your resume?
Big or little, lies will always catch up with you. Even if you get the position, you probably hope to be promoted some day and those little white lies will come back to haunt you. It’s too easy these days for people to check up on you, so it’s not worth fudging, even just a little.
As I said before, all resume reviewers are different. But avoiding common mistakes can help make sure that your resume gets full consideration. What do you think about Bock’s guidelines? What would you add or subtract from the list? Let me know your thoughts in the comments section below.
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