Resumes are required to apply to almost every open position. Many articles can provide tips and tricks on how to construct your resume, what to include and what to exclude, what font to use, etc. What someone will quickly learn by reading multiple articles is that the advice and tips vary depending on who is offering the information. Strong or “correct” resumes are therefore subjective.
Of course, social media platforms like LinkedIn and TikTok, as well as others, are good ways to grab the attention of hiring managers or HR/TA professionals online. Even if you manage to capture someone’s attention through one of these platforms, chances are you will still need to apply to the open position or provide a resume for someone else to review before being interviewed. This means that your resume has to answer a lot of questions or check a lot of boxes in addition to content you may be posting on your professional social media accounts.
As a Human Resources and Talent Acquisition professional, our CEO has heard all different types of frustrations and questions regarding an applicant’s resume. Some examples of those include wanting the resume to state words from the job description or to be specific about the volume of outbound calls they have handled or to be shorter in length or more detailed, etc. But it’s just about impossible for the job seeker to know which hiring manager they will have and what that person’s expectations will be.
The best thing we can offer to a job seeker is our experience and knowledge about resumes from the perspective and the collective lenses our CEO has seen hiring managers view resumes through. Our advice comes with a few disclaimers: 1) We are not guaranteeing you will get hired by making these changes, 2) we are not guaranteeing that every hiring manager or recruiter is going to agree with them and 3) these are the opinions of our CEO based on what she has seen. Tailoring a resume to a specific job you are applying to can be very useful, again making this advice not universally appropriate.
Let us break down our advice piece-by-piece.
1. Objective statements on resumes: if you are submitting your resume to a general mailbox, an agency or placement recruiter or posting your resume on a job board site then we are all for objective statements. In these cases they can serve as a reminder to a recruiter or someone looking to hire you, what your interest or goal is. However, if you are applying to a specific role in a company then we do not agree with objective statements. Our aversion to them is their usefulness in that situation. For example, if you are applying to a Customer Service Representative role then your objective statement is going to indicate as such. Therefore, it is redundant and not necessary to include. In addition to that, an objective statement is going to need to be different for every role you apply to. For example, for a Customer Service Representative looking for an Administrative Assistant role or a Customer Success role, that objective would need to be revised to match the posting details. Many job seekers are either not going to take the time to make those individual changes for each application or they will potentially forget. So by eliminating your objective statement, your reducing the amount of versions and changes that need to be made and avoiding any potential mistakes or typos on your resume.
2. Position responsibilities: We believe in providing specific details on your resume to ensure that the company you are hoping to be employed by and the hiring manager reviewing it, understand at first glance what your experience really looks like. For example, instead of stating “answering and making phone calls to support business operations” expand upon that. What kinds of calls, how often and from who are you taking calls and what business operations are they supporting? If you have experience using a CRM, be specific in the types of systems you have previously used when outlining that bullet point for that specific role. But there is a difference between providing specific detail and overdoing it or embellishing your experience.
3. Page limits and fonts: don’t box yourself into arbitrary requirements. Yes, it is true that a hiring manager isn’t likely going to read all three or four pages of your resume in its entirety. That is why bullet points with bolded subheadings can be useful. We have never been on the side of limiting a resume to one page just because. Your resume should include your related experience in some detail, include your educational background and outline your volunteer work and additional skills, licensure or certificates. If that happens to take two or three pages, then so be it. As for fonts, we recommend choosing something that is easy to read. You don’t want a hiring manager to struggle to see the words you worked so hard to construct appropriately to express your experience. We would also advise against bolding all of the details and focus on bolding only the subheadings or most applicable words.
There is a lot more advice we could offer, but to avoid writing a book about the situation we’ll stop here. Some of the advice is also specific to experience and the types of jobs someone is applying to, because resumes can differ greatly.
If you are someone who is looking for support on enhancing your resume or you know someone who is, please reach out to A People Partner, LLC. We are happy to do working sessions with job seekers at to help them enhance their resume. We are also willing to support job seekers with mock interviews and job searching support. We wish you the best in your job search! Always remember to smile and come to your interview with a positive attitude!