Do’s & Don’ts for Building an Effective Resume

Annabel PickensBy Annabel Pickens on November 20, 2020

Key Points:

Do

  • Incorporate your role and impactful experience
  • Include relevant responsibilities
  • Tailor to the reader
  • Tell the same story on LinkedIn

Don’t

  • Longer than 2 pages
  • Add skills just to have a long list
  • Include photo

Annabel Pickens is truly invested in her clients. As the Client Development, Sr. Director at Spectraforce, her 10+ years of experience in the Staffing Industry working with hiring managers has given her first-hand knowledge on what makes for an effective resume. In this article, you will learn effective do’s & don’ts as you examine your resume for the new year.

Do…

Quantify your role and impact 

When an employer views your resume and past work assignments/jobs, while they do care about the day-to-day responsibilities, they also want to know how you, yourself, have made an impact. Did you increase revenue? By how much? Did you reduce operating costs? What problem were you able to solve by doing your job? These are some of the elements to think about when filling out your different job details. 

Tailor your resume to the job you are applying for 

This does not mean changing your job title or falsifying responsibilities but rather, take time to read the job description try and get a sense of what is important to the manager and perhaps add or remove things that speak to that or are irrelevant to that particular job. *This will also help you cut your resume down significantly to hit that 2-page goal! 

Put yourself in the manager’s shoes 

What I mean by this is think of how they will read your resume. What can you do to make it easier for them to quickly see if you are qualified? If you are applying for a developer job then doing little things like including the tech stack you worked on in all of your previous jobs helps them to quickly say “yes, I want to interview this person!”

Keep it consistent with your LinkedIn Profile 

I mentioned earlier that managers WILL cross-reference your LinkedIn profile. If you don’t have one, get one, and please put a professional headshot on there and not a family photo! Don’t change your job title on your resume to Project Manager (PM)/Scrum Master (SM) because you are applying for a Scrum Master position only to have them check your LI and find out you were a Project Manager. Instead, you can highlight the responsibilities you had as a PM that are relevant to the SM role. 

Don’t…

Make your resume longer than 2 pages if you can help it (and no longer than 4) 

Interviewers only care about the information relevant to the job they are hiring for. You may have 50 years of experience, but 70% of that is not relevant you can still list it to show that you were employed. For example, there is no need for bullets on your responsibilities as a restaurant server if you are applying for a developer position!

I have often come across hiring managers that will see a 7-page resume (and I know for a fact it is a great candidate) and just pass on them because of their inability to be concise. They have to view dozens of resumes and it is disrespectful to assume they have time to read more than 2-4 pages. 

List skills you cannot speak intelligently to on your resume 

Per my earlier note on making sure your resume is searchable, you mustn’t go down an SEO rabbit hole. I have seen people that are fully qualified for the job put a technology or tool on their resume they don’t have the knowledge to back up. Perhaps their organization used the tool, but they were not experts on it. They get in an interview where that tool/technology is not required but because it is on the resume it is fair game to ask questions on it and now, we have an integrity issue because they have essentially beefed up your resume and are unable to speak to skills listed on your resume. 

Put a picture on your resume 

Just don’t do it. We live in a world where diversity and inclusion are key, and you should not be asking an employer to judge your skills based on what you look like. They are all going to cross-reference your LinkedIn profile anyway and you are welcome to have a professional photographer there but putting it on your resume is just cheesy. 

I know it can be hard to write about yourself, but this is your time to shine! Keep it honest but toot that horn and let them know in concise bullets why you are the person for the job. With that, happy job hunting and resume re-vamping friends!

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