resumes I receive from candidates can vary quite a bit in terms of their
quality. However, even those at the very top of the spectrum usually
require some amount of tweaking and proofreading before they're passed
along to my clients.
practical to apply your editorial skills to every resume in every
situation, there's no downside - and considerable upside - to making
improvements whenever possible. A dynamite resume not only reflects well
on the quality of your work, it'll put money in your pocket.
Delegating the Revision Process
Most candidates are quite willing to improve their resumes, and if given
proper direction, will do the heavy lifting themselves. To that end,
I've created a page on my website that shows an ideal or exemplary
resume. All I ask is that they model their revisions based on a template
that's been proven to work well in my particular industry. As long as
they apply the elements of formatting, style and content creation found on the website resume
to their own work, they'll do just fine. If they get stuck or need help,
I'm happy to make suggestions or perform a few quick edits.
My approach is
to help the reader reach the conclusion that the candidate's experience
is relevant and transferable. Mostly, I do this by adding, deleting or
separating out information to make it more explicit. To illustrate,
here's an excerpt from a resume sent to me recently by a candidate:
As you can see, the content is somewhat
vague. After a couple of drafts, here's how it was revised:
In my niche,
both the context and the relevancy of experience are important elements
of a dynamite resume. So, including items such as the previous employer's
size, products and customer base, as well as the candidate's
accomplishments as they relate to my client's job (in this case, new
product development) are absolutely essential in qualifying the
candidate. By leaving them out, my client might have difficulty getting
their mind around - and recalling, many weeks later - why this candidate
is a good fit for the job.
and Clarity of Design
You can apply this level of specificity to every aspect of the resume,
not just the chronology. Whenever possible, make sure the summary,
education, patents, awards, publications and so forth showcase any
information that might answer the reader's underlying question: Can this
candidate solve my problem?
At the risk of sounding New Age, I believe that great resumes, like
great interior design, adhere to the principles of Feng Shui. That is,
you want the eye to travel easily, pausing to consider those qualities
that have the most meaning. A resume that's clear, visually attractive
and well organized will make a great first impression, even before the
first word is read.