Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Two-page limit? Why your resume should be as long as it needs to be.

Your resume needs to be as long as it needs to be to get you noticed.

I've had it with forcing a candidate to one page and making them feel silly for having a (gasp!) two-page resume.

I had a conversation today with a new candidate whose resume wasn't equal to his skills. He has a difficult-to-find programming language in his tool belt, but his resume focused solely on accomplishments and neglected technology. It was also one page long.

He said he had done some research on the internet and all the best sources told him to keep his resume limited in length. You've heard the old message: no more than 2 pages.

But if you're a job candidate in the 21st century, you've also heard about keywords and if you've really done your research you've also heard about applicant tracking systems.

All those keywords can make a resume long!

The two messages clash, but if you aren't in the industry you may not realize that. In fact, I wonder if people in the industry realize they're sending a crazy, mixed-up message. A recruiter in my office just this morning spoke to someone whose sister-in-law, a recruiter in the healthcare industry, told her to keep the resume to no more than two pages.

Here's why I am always saying longer resumes are not evil. If an applicant tracking system is comparing your resume to a job description and the job description is looking for a receptionist who can answer phones, then your resume had best mention answering phones. If the job description is for a business analyst, then your resume needs to mention gathering requirements.

You simply can't expect anyone anymore to read between the lines or assume that most receptionists answer the phone and most business analysts gather requirements.

Don't laugh! I've seen programmer resumes that have no mention whatsoever of their programming language. I've seen help desk and PC technician resumes that have no technologies listed. When asked why, a candidate I spoke to this winter said he had to keep his resume to one page, so something had to go. He chose to eliminate all technologies.

I can't make this stuff up.

Your resume must include all pertinent technology, old and new, including tools that are used with your skill set. It also needs basic job skills that leave no room for interpretation or assumptions on the part of the hiring manager or the applicant tracking system.


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Dalia Alaa said...

That is probably the best interview advice I have have ever received!!! ~Neal C.

I wanted to talk to you again before this interview because you really geek interview tips. ~Chad T.

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