November 20, 2023

Cracking the Career Code: Resume Do’s and Don’ts

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Episode Highlights

Which Personal Information to Include on a Resume?

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00:10

How long should your Resume be?

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2:01

Let's discuss Resume Format

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6:00

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There is a lot of information out there on resumes and it’s hard to determine what tips will actually help you land your next job. In this episode, Matt and Kierra share their thoughts on what really tips the scale when it comes to how and what candidates should include on their resume. If you’ve been wondering whether your resume is too long, not detailed enough, formatted the right way, or includes enough keywords, this episode is for you!

Episode Transcript

Welcome back to Cracking the Career Code with Matt and Kierra, where we provide candidates with the keys to success in their job search. This week we’re going to be talking about resume do’s and don’ts. So there’s a lot of information out there about resumes, so we want to kind of demystify all that today.

So Kierra, why don’t you start us off. Yeah, so I think a big question is what to include. So I would definitely always include your contact information. So your first and last name, a good phone number, email to reach you at. Make sure that your email is a professional email, not something crazy or really outdated. You want to make sure that it’s professional and in the sense that it should just be like your first and last name, nothing too crazy. And then, location as far as like the city and state you’re in, I think that’s always good to include too. I don’t think it’s necessary to put your house address on there.

They don’t need to know that when you’re applying for jobs. Yeah, you don’t want people looking up your Zillow listing. And you know, it’s kind of a security concern too, right? Like getting your-

Exactly. All of your contact information out there, including where you reside. It just, it’s not necessary on a resume.

Exactly. I agree. And I don’t think you should include a professional photo. That’s what your LinkedIn’s for. I think it not only takes up space, but it could create unwanted biases. And I just think it’s better to keep it off your resume. What are your thoughts on that? Yeah, I think unless you’re applying to a modeling gig, probably don’t need a headshot on your resume.

Of course, you know, if you have your LinkedIn profile link on your resume, people are going to see what you look like if you have your photo on that. But on that topic of profiles as well, you might want to also include like a personal website, a link to a portfolio, your github, if you’re a software developer. Kind of depends on the type of roles and the career path that you’re in, but you might want to include other profiles there as well.

And we get a lot of questions from candidates about resume length, like what’s the standard these days. What’s too long, should I still keep my resume to one page? And I don’t believe in the one page resume anymore. I don’t either. We’re not handing people physical resumes in person. All of our applications are going out on the internet.

So no real reason to have a one page resume or constrain yourself to that. Unless you’re going to a career fair or you want to have a one page version of your resume. That’s kind of like all of your qualifications and experience at a glance when you’re at an in person interview, but the days of the one page max are over.

But Kierra, what do you think about like the opposite side of that? Like, is there such thing as too long of a resume? Yeah, I definitely have seen resumes where they’ve been eight pages, seven pages long, and that’s a little bit unnecessary because you know that no one’s going to take the time to look through a seven page resume.

I think there’s a way that you can make your resume concise and bullet pointed so that it can get the point across on the major impacts that you’ve had in your role. But not to a point where you’re writing paragraphs as your bullet points or long, extensive explanations. I think that’s what the interview is for.

As long as you can highlight the metrics and the main points that will stand out, I think that’s what’s most important. I know you’ve also seen some crazy lengths in resumes, but, like you mentioned if it goes over a page, that’s not a big deal. No one’s going to not interview you because of it. I think that if there’s things that need to be included that will take you over a page, that it’s necessary to do. Because it is your next role and you want to be able to showcase everything that you’ve done that’s relevant. So yeah, do you have anything else you wanted to add to that? Sure. I would just say like some of those longer five, six, seven, page resumes I see are like people that have done consulting their entire career, and they want to highlight every single project.

What I would say also to those people that might have a really long resume is like the stuff at the top better be really relevant and eye catching, because like you said, like recruiters aren’t going to and hiring managers, aren’t going to scroll all the way down to the bottom. You know, you got to catch their attention right away. And, you know, some ways that you might do that are, like you said, through those bullet points. You know, your recent employment history, making sure those dates are correct.

I think really commonly when someone leaves a company or they get laid off, I get their resume and it still says they’re working there. It says like, you know, 2021 to present, make sure you put an end date on that. You know, if you’ve got a job somewhere, they’re probably going to do an employment verification and call your past employer and they’re going to confirm what dates you were there.

So, important to have that. Important to put any education or certifications, on the top of your resume as well, just to kind of grab the attention. If you were promoted at a role, definitely show that title progression, you know, at that last company. Right.

And then, on the education topic, like what do you think about graduation year? Should candidates include that on their resume? Yeah, I think it’s really up to the candidate. I would say recent grads, it’s more common to see your graduation year, but I think as you get more experience in your career and have different opportunities, you can probably take that off. It’s not going to make or break whether you get a job in the first place.

So I don’t think it’s necessary to have, I would just say it’s probably more common amongst new grads to have. You don’t want to open the door to ageism, right? Right, right, exactly. That’s not something that people should, be experiencing, but you just never know and you want to avoid that from happening at all costs. Better safe than sorry. Exactly, exactly.

And then, about the format of a resume, what do you suggest for that? I know some resumes I’ve seen have all these fancy colors and fonts, and what is your opinion on those? Sure. Kind of like with the headshots, like, unless you’re applying to a modeling gig, you probably don’t need to include that, but fancy formats, unless you’re applying to a graphic designer or UI/UX designer role, like, I would say function over form. Like make sure the content is is really good.

You know, you want consistent formatting with fonts and sizes and your margins and all of that but like no need to make something like an art piece when you’re sending out your resume. Yeah, and you want it to be easy to read. If you’re trying to like be catchy with your fonts and stuff, that’s not the point of the resume. So I think-

No comic sans. Yeah, yeah. Exactly, exactly. So, along with that make sure it’s clear, concise, but a professional objective should be at the top. This is necessary for explaining just a short overview of your experience or what it is you’re trying to accomplish in your next career. It should be short, concise, get to the point.

Don’t make it too long and just include anything that would be relevant for that job that you’re applying for. Like your elevator pitch, right? Yep. Yep. I know some jobs, if you’re transitioning, you can put aspiring and then the job title and then include some of your experience that’s relevant. So that’s how I would go about that.

And then as far as like the depth of your bullet points, I know we talked about how they shouldn’t be paragraphs long. But Matt, do you want to share just what a bullet point should consist of or what that should look like throughout your resume? Yeah. Yeah. So it’s going to be role dependent, right? As well as like how long you were at that company, like, you know, how much detail you should go into as far as like past projects.

But the big thing to keep in mind is you want to showcase your responsibilities. You want to showcase your knowledge, skills, and abilities, and then any projects where you really made a difference. Where you made significant business impact and definitely any type of quantitative or qualitative metrics or, you know, numbers that you can include in those bullet points definitely goes a long way.

Yeah, no, I would agree with that. And one thing that is kind of a myth is the ATS’s is like some of them are going to track words or phrases, but that’s not really what’s going to keep you from getting a job at the end of the day. I mean, I think it’s always good practice to put in any relevance to the job description or the specific job that you’re talking about, but recruiters should be going through your resumes. Hiring managers should be going through your resumes. So I wouldn’t put too much of a focus on like trying to blur out words with white ink or anything to try to catch those-

Keyword loading them. Yeah, yeah. But I know you’ve had a little bit more experience with just different ATS systems and what those look like. Do you want to just share what your thoughts are on that?

Yeah, I mean, there’s that common myth out there that like I better put as many keywords as possible on my resume so that I don’t get knocked out or auto rejected from the ATS. I’ve worked with several ATS systems. None of them have been that sophisticated. The recruiters are the ones doing the reviewing.

So, you know, no need to make a second page, put a bunch of fonts on there, make it white font, so then, you know, the text reader picks it up, so. But yeah, definitely, you know, if you want to customize your resume a little bit for specific jobs that you’re applying to. If you want to have a section for like all the tools or, technologies or software or skills that you have, like, certainly include that. But, you know, no need to go overkill there.

Yeah, absolutely. Well, thank you so much for joining us today on Cracking the Career Code. Go check out talentinsights.hirewell.com for more content and follow us on LinkedIn if you aren’t already. Thank you.

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