Personal Branding 101 is proud to present the following guest article by Tim Tyrell-Smith of www.TimsStrategy.com. Tim clearly has a passion for helping others build careers. His blog contains a wealth of information to jump start your job search, networking efforts, social media presence, and more – enjoy!
Yes, I know what you are thinking. ”Really? Another article telling me what to do with my resume?” But until I start seeing a better paper flow, I’ll keep bringing it up.
And, remember that this little two-pager is often the first thing people see from you. The first flash of your personal brand. It better be easy to read and worth reading. And while a lot of interesting formats for exposing your brand are now available (LinkedIn, Twitter, Visual CV, Facebook), people still expect a traditional resume prior to and during an interview. Even if they didn’t find you that way.
So here today I’ll offer 5 reasons your resume makes me sick. I haven’t left my breakfast on the page yet, but I’m getting a tickle in the back of my throat. And will soon experience a queasy feeling. One that compels me to move your information to the “other” pile.
#1. Poor Or Over-Use Of Formatting
Style does matter in life and in the hiring process. So if you are bolding, underlining and italicizing everything on the page, you are telling me that everything on the page is important. Or nothing is. Hard to read and makes me dizzy. Or maybe you are using multiple fonts or font sizes. Or you’ve created a resume that looks like the front page of the NY Times. And I don’t know where to start. So I don’t.
#2. “No White Space”
Great print advertising uses the page well. It places just enough information in the ad to allow the reader to naturally find important content. There is a flow to it. And the eye is given room to work. So when you use a margin of .2 all around to keep your resume to two pages, it leaves no white space. No place for my eyes to rest as I am scanning to quickly learn where your resume fits against the job requirements.
#3. Poor Use Of The “Top Third”
You have an opportunity in the top third of your resume to grab people. To quickly communicate important and unique aspects of your skill and experience that will trigger a decision to keep reading. I’m not saying that people will not look at last employers, positions and accomplishments if your top third is bad. But it is kind of a shame. Because with an enticing positioning statement, a strong career summary, and a short list of key strengths, you can brand yourself up front. Before someone drops you into a mental pile based only on their take on the facts.
#4. Drowning In Responsibilities
Resumes should be full of relevant and tangible accomplishments. Relevant in that they will make the hiring manager think “that’s the kind of impact I’m looking for”. Tangible because it measures the impact and suggests a direct benefit and value. We all want to interview people who can come in and make a big impact or solve a problem. If your resume details the role you played for each company without detailing the value you added, you will look like everyone else. So in two short sentences under each prior position, tell me what you did. And in 4-6 bullet points tell me what you accomplished while there.
#5. Who Did You Work For Again?
Maybe I’m not as worldly as I’d like to think, but I see a lot of resumes that include companies I’ve never heard of. Don’t know what they do, how big they are and how influential they might be in their industry. Are they great at training their employees? Are they global? What brand names do they own? If you are not providing a quick company profile, especially if your company is not well known, you are letting me assume things. And if I assume that the company is “just OK” you may lose some credibility. In short, it helps to know where you’ve been and how you’ve been influenced and educated in the world of business.
I don’t like to feel sick. When I do, it compels me to get rid of the source. If that source is your resume, then take action to control this aspect of your job search effort. Make it easy and comfortable for people to learn about you. And to find key points that create a growing sense that you might just be the one. To help my company grow.
There. Now I feel better.
Tim Tyrell-Smith is the founder of Tim’s Strategy: Ideas for Job Search Career and Life, a fast growing blog and website. Tim is also the author of: 30 Ideas. The Ideas of Successful Job Search. Download the book and other free tools at http://www.timsstrategy.com and follow him on Twitter @TimsStrategy