Today we are examining the resume of an accomplished technical project manager. He has led multi-million dollar software implementations for the Department of Defense and led the development of a back-end system that processes two to three million financial transactions daily. He’s the kind of manager that would be an asset to any employer. However, his former resume was mind-numbing. It was five pages of information, just like the snippet that is inserted below. No formatting, just endless descriptions of systems and the technologies used to create them. What are the chances the reader will get beyond the first half-page?
1.) Trim the lists of technologies used for a project. The candidate spent many, many words describing each and every tool, application, and language. Trimming this alone took the resume from five to four pages! Much of it was repeated from one project to the next. The appropriate place for these technologies is the “Technical Expertise” section of the resume, also known as a technical skills inventory. Remember to only show skills that are relevant to your target job. Omit any outdated or skills not useful in your next job.
2.) Cut the obvious explanations. The candidate would explain some very obvious facts to the reader. For example, he wrote: “The team ensures that middleware development is following company standards and is using the appropriate technologies in a desirable manner. Middleware is critical to performance of back-end and customer experience on the front end.” This is not a class on middleware development. He needs to stick to the scope and results of the project.
3.) Feature the results. Featuring results shows that you understand how your role supports the company’s bottom line. When you focus on your functions and technologies alone, you will appear to be insulated from the bigger picture. Take time to understand and communicate measured results for your accomplishments. If what you do does not impact the bottom line (directly or indirectly), you should be worried.
4.) More is not always better. One comment this candidate shared is that he felt his contributions over twelve years merited a five-page resume. That is not logical. Nine times out of ten his five-page resume would not be read. Readers give a resume a few seconds. You must get your message across in a concise manner. Taking five pages to say what could be said in two demonstrates that you are not a good communicator.
If you need help trimming your lengthy resume, contact me. I would be happy to help you. It can be done. Your reward will be a much higher response rate. If you would like to read more on the topic, check out these blog entries.
Font of Wisdom