Other good stuff · Work Related

Resume Writing Tips from a Former Recruiter

Feel free to check out my related post  Are you sabotaging your job search without ever speaking to a hiring manager?

 

After 8 years of working in hiring departments with 6 years of those specifically recruiting for health care, industrial, clerical, and professional positions I have searched through a lot of resumes. Resumes are just a way of getting your foot in the door for an interview. There may be great information and experience there, but if the resume is hard to read or follow it may get passed over. Here’s a list of the most common tips I gave about resume writing.

Length

Unless you are applying for an academic or extremely technical position, 1-2 pages should suffice. There is a myth that resumes should be 1 page, but going onto a second page is perfectly fine.

 

References

You do not need to list your actual reference information on your resume or even “references available upon request.” That is understood. I have seen some people submit a letter of recommendation with their resume though. That did make them stand out. I would suggest only submitting one and make it your best one.

 

Education dates

It may be relevant if you just graduated or are getting ready to graduate to list your education dates, but otherwise education dates do not need to be listed. It does not matter if you are old or young or somewhere in the middle. Do not give employers the chance to try and gage your experience based on your age, and that is what putting your education dates on your resume may do.

 

A Summary of Qualifications Section

This is a bulleted section that gives the highlights of your accomplishments, experience, and skills. I love seeing this at the top of resumes.

Creating a section like this does a few things. It helps hiring managers focus on the most important content of what you want to stand out without them having to search for it. It creates an easy to read format to help avoid the dreaded wall of text that resumes can tend to create. Also, it may help streamline a resume and eliminate other sections. For example, listing some highlights in a summary section may do away with the need to have a separate section for volunteer experience or accomplishments.

Any information can be included, but this is your highlight reel. Examples of items are how much you increased productivity or sales, special projects you headed, applicable experience outside of work. Keep it around 5 points. Here’s an example:

  • 20 years human resources experience
  • Worked in private, non-profit, and government sectors. Have experience working with a wide range of people: children, senators, parents, teachers, and customers.
  • Managed and budgeted while supervising a staff of 15 employees.
  • Increased recruitment results 90% .
  • Managed large corporate accounts as well as smaller local accounts.

Employment History

Even though I have seen it, I cannot imagine a scenario where I would suggest leaving dates of employment off completely. If you are avoiding drawing attention to gaps of employment, it may be better to list the reason in an objective statement or an explanation somewhere else on the resume. I suggest listing the start and end dates in month/year format. I just think it looks cleaner, and listing exact dates can take up a lot space on your resume.

Usually listing your last 10-15 years of employment information is what employers are looking for. If you got employee of the month at your retail job in 1986 and are now looking for an accounts payable position, it is just not relevant to list. I have seen some people really struggle with trying to trim down their employment history section. If you are feeling that way, maybe try to re-work what you need to cut to list into your Summary of Qualifications section. The first and second bullet point listed from the example above served that purpose. This can show that there is more experience than may specifically be listed in the employment section of the resume:

  • 20 years human resources experience
  • Worked in private, non-profit, and government sectors. Have experience working with a wide range of people: children, senators, parents, teachers, and customers.

 

When to use an objective statement

A lot of times when objective statements are listed, they are just taking up space without giving any true information about you. Do not feel the need to list a generic objective statement like, “I am looking for a stable company where I can apply my skills and grow. . .”

There is no need to use an objective statement unless they are highly relevant or specific to the job being applied for. They can be very useful if you are trying to get a position in a new field or are returning to work from time off.

“My education and recent experience has been in human resources, but I am now in a position to explore my real passion in the culinary arts. . . “

“After having the privilege to stay home and take care of my aging parents, I am now excited and able to return to the workforce. . . “

 

I hope this was helpful. Good luck in your job search!

 

 

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19 thoughts on “Resume Writing Tips from a Former Recruiter

      1. It really is, and I have a maximum commute and number of hours I can work due to doctors recommendations which makes it even more difficult! I am optimistic thought the right job will turn up.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks so much for reading and commenting Miriam. Yes the condensing part is hard. I am actually going to write a second part to this. I think the biggest thing is just making sure it’s formatted where it’s easy to skim read. Good luck in your search.

      Liked by 1 person

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