Best Practices: Resume Edition

According to a recent research study conducted by TheLadders, a Recruiter spends just 6 seconds(!) before determining whether or not a candidate is a ‘good fit’.

With the thousands of resumes I’ve reviewed, I get it.  As a Recruiter one of my most valuable resources is time, and I need to effectively & efficiently get from resume review to interview!

With this in mind, I reached out to Recruiters & HR Professionals and posed these simple questions:

  1. What are resume best practices you could share with candidates?   And perhaps more importantly…
  2. What practices should candidates avoid?

I’m happy to report that I have too much information to share in just one blog post!  Tonight, I’m featuring the feedback of two gracious colleagues (thanks, Steve & John!) – in this first installment of Best Practices: Resume Edition –

AVOID sharing details of your personal life unless you feel it demonstrates transferable skills for the position you are seeking!  This a recent phenomena that’s been plaguing otherwise normal resumes, and here’s a (fictional) example:

Personal Profile:  Single rather of 3 beautiful children, ages 2, 5 & 13.  Enjoys riding motorcycles, cross-stitch and science fiction literature.

Providing information like this can compromise the professional tone of your resume, and could lead to discrimination whether intentional or unintentional.

INSTEAD, highlight your community involvement.  Corporate responsibility & philanthropy is not just a trend – it’s something the best companies look for in prospective employees, and a way to differentiate yourself from the competition.

USE your best professional judgement, and an eye for detail.  Your love of cats should not be reflected in your choice of resume paper and your headshot is best left on LinkedIn.  Although there are many schools of thought as to which resume format is best, a resume that is difficult to read, lacks structure, or is missing key information will be cast aside in less than 6 seconds.

PLEASE list your experiences with clearly defined start/end dates.  Use size 10-12pt. serif fonts as they are found to be easier to read in blocks of text.  Popular serif fonts are Garamond and Times New Roman, and they are found in most word processors.  Sleeker sans serif fonts are becoming more mainstream – my resume uses my favorite font, Futura.

Does your resume clearly show your name, current position title & company, start/end dates, previous position titles & companies, and education?  This is what Recruiters are looking for in those critical 6 seconds.

Are you a candidate with questions for Recruiters?  Are you a Recruiter or HR Professional who wants to share their views?  Let me know what you think – leave a comment, or send me an email at!

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