Your Resume’s Purpose

I see resumes every day that fail to accomplish their most basic purpose – introduce and convey a clear picture of the job seeker.

How do they miss this? Typically, there are two primary mistakes. Job seekers leave out critical information and they fail to provide a clear structure that will make finding information easy.

A resume is an introduction. It is the first impression that an employer gets. A typical hiring manager might receive several hundred resumes each week. With so many resumes to review, most only get a 15 to 30 second look.

For many candidates, this can be frustrating to hear. You have just spent weeks deliberating over every word in your resume. You revised the content and developed witty or creative descriptions for what you have done. Then the resume hits the desk of an employer and gets little more than a quick glance.

Resumes don’t get hired. The introduction your resume provides is not designed to get you a job. Interviews, assessment tests, reference checks and other screening mechanisms do that. What the resume can do – what it’s supposed to do – is get you a shot at talking to someone. Do you make it easy for the reader to see why they should keep reading, and then set up a call?

A good resume will present the key pieces of information that an employer needs. Poor formatting can keep you out of the running for jobs that are a match. If it’s not clear in the first 15 seconds that you meet some of the basic requirements, you risk being passed by. The key to getting past this initial screen is making it easy for the reader to assess your background. By organizing your resume so that it is easy to digest, it will get a more thorough look.