Let's Talk About Your Resume
Much more than a summary of your education and experience, your resume is the primary tool with which you market yourself: it can be the difference between JobGiraffe or a client company selecting you for the interview or someone else. And it’s what you leave behind after the first interview is complete. During any job search, your resume is the paper (or electronic) version of you.
Your resume may be used to:
- Evaluate your education, skills and experience in relation to the position that is open
- Compare you against your competition
- Answer a question about your education, skills or experience
- Decide if you come back for the second interview
- Confirm your salary requirements
- Refer you to another department or affiliate for other open positions
When you come into our offices to meet with a JobGiraffe consultant, we will check:
Your Resume Format...
Does your resume fit what most employers consider the “new standard” for resumes, which includes a certain format that is BOTH readable and scannable?
Be careful with any fancy formatting. Microsoft Word doc vs. PDF is still a 50/50 proposition – both work okay, but you must be careful with anything you put in either; indents are okay if they are simple and consistent, tabs should be avoided, no lines, no fancy or weird font (no matter how “cool” it looks, clients hate it), absolutely no pictures, no weird artwork, no colored text, colored background, or colored paper ever, no shading, watch bolding except for really important info (but be very careful with amount of bolding), no text color other than black, and no hidden keywords ever - in white or any other color.
Your Resume Length...
What is too much or too little in today’s uber-competitive job market? We will share what we’ve learned from our clients and make sure yours is appropriate.
If you need a guideline, try this: during the “getting the interview” phase, you should limit your resume to one page. However, those with at least ten years of experience related to the job they are seeking, or anyone whose field requires technical or engineering skills, can opt for a two-page resume so as to allow enough space to include all of the pertinent information in a readable manner.
Your Resume Content...
What should you cut? What is missing? What is important? What is not? Keywords or no keywords? Your JobGiraffe consultant will demystify these questions as we prepare you for your next steps.
Tweaking your resume for each submission is good, but don’t go too far. Clients can tell when you have written your resume just to fit their job description, therefore too much “customizing” can also knock you out.
Also, in your efforts to manage your resume’s length, don’t take too many liberties between ’you’ in resume version and reality. Omissions or brevity are fine when you are trying to not exceed one page, but be sure you don’t go too far – and be 100% ready during the face-to-face to immediately correct or fill in what was shortened or missing.
Here are some other tips on what to include –
and what not to:
What’s your objective? - For people just entering the workforce or changing career fields, an objective provides a great opportunity to highlight the type of position you are interested in. Be prepared to discuss your career objectives with us in your interview.
Reference Information - For your JobGiraffe interview, "available upon request" is just fine for the resume phase, but once you enter the application and interview phases, we will really ask for references and we will really call who you give us… and possibly call some people you did not give us. Be prepared!
Hobbies and Interests - Your passion for fly-fishing is nice, but probably not really important in the resume phase. Be prepared to discuss what you’ve chosen to list (if anything) or chosen not to list under this category; it can make a difference – or just be a distraction.
Spelling, Punctuation & Grammar
It’s time for some JobGiraffe tough love: it’s up to you to proof your resume for spelling and punctuation errors and spell-check mix-ups (there or their?). Absolutely NO spelling errors are acceptable. Ever. Period.
You have a little more breathing room on grammar since much of what you write will not be in complete sentences. It doesn’t need to be perfect English, but your grammar must be better than average. Remember, before you even get to the interview, you are being judged entirely by this document. And with so many candidates applying, employers are looking for any reason to throw a resume in the “No” pile.
Accuracy and Honesty
We know that some people – especially if they’ve been looking for a long time – start to wonder if they can get away with shading the truth a little in their resume to give themselves a better chance at a job.
Well, we’ve been doing this a very long time and the answer is definitely NO. Don’t even try it. And it goes beyond just being honest – it includes being totally accurate about every date and/or statement you make on your resume. If it isn’t true and verifiable, don’t list it.
Here are some specific examples:
Education – Do not even think about identifying yourself as a college graduate unless you are 100% certain that your degree will verify. Lying about educational achievement is the fastest “knock-out” component amongst clients and staffing companies today – especially JobGiraffe. We will check it all – including high school. There is no ‘fudge factor’ in this; four years of college is not the same as a degree. Two classes short is not the same as a degree. Still owing the University money and having an unavailable transcript is not the same as a degree.
The same goes for trade schools and other certifications. If we can’t verify it when contacting the institution and/or if you don’t have the certificate and/or you cannot produce indisputable proof you completed something successfully, don’t list it as “complete”.
Military Service – Make sure you list all of your information completely and correctly including dates of service, branch of the military, any awards or recognition and, of course, you must be able to produce your DD214.
Employment History – Though you have a little latitude when interpreting what happened at your previous jobs, do not take too much ‘artistic liberty’ when describing your employment history. We understand that some portions of your work background may have been cut from your resume due to space, but you must be prepared to tell both JobGiraffe and the prospective employer exactly what you’ve been up to, going all the way back to high school. These questions will be asked. Big discrepancies between your resume and your employment application will eliminate your candidacy for certain.
Believe it or not, we are experts at helping you deal with things like short-term employment, gaps in employment, being fired, etc., in a straight-forward, open and honest way. You will be surprised how open minded potential employers can be – and how marketable you can remain - as long as we know the truth.
JobGiraffe’s experienced consultants will review your resume during your personal interview. With almost 50 years of experience in placing great job seekers with great companies, JobGiraffe has screened millions of resumes. We know exactly what it takes to make you stand out above the crowd.
JobGiraffe – Reach Higher®