Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Keep resumes brief, no matter how epic your career


Chip Camden has a Tech Republic blog entry “Five resume tips for IT consultants”, here and it certain reminds me of the advice from the “outplacement company” (in my case, Right Management) back in 2002.

From the title of the column, it seems to be aimed more at self-employed IT contractors, but I think when you get into the points, it seems to apply to the market as a whole.

One important point is brevity. Camden says that a one-page resume will actually get read. A five-page resume can chronicle epic history (particularly for "older" professionals) of experience, but most jobs focus on a relatively narrow set of skills that a resume must match. Some of this comes about, ironically, because of anti-discrimination laws; companies must be able to show they made employment decisions on job-related issues and not outside ones. (That’s much less true in sales jobs than in individual contributor or management technology development jobs.)

Another important piece of advice is to use active voice in the resume writing and quantify accomplishments as much as possible. It’s important to have been connected to project success; collective karma is a real thing.

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