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  1. #1
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    Default Resumes

    Is there a "standard" format any more? Is it still recommended to limit them to a page regardless of years of experience? Just looking for some rough guidelines.

    Thanks for any help!!



  2. #2
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    I wouldn't say there's necessarily ever been a "standard". The typical order is name/contact, objective, education, work history, etc... but that may not necessarily be the most flattering format for a particular individual.

    The first page will get the most attention. If your experience exceeds what can be contained within a page, make sure to highlight the relevant aspects in some form (i.e., add a summary just below your name/contact).

    I've done a lot of edits and re-writes of resumes for various people. Objectives are pretty pointless unless you're changing fields, and your resume is going to leave a reviewer wondering why/how your resume is relevant to the available position. If there is redundancy in your work history - i.e., you've done the exact same thing at each company - it may be better to briefly list your employment history in bullets and then organize the body by skill. The point is, your resume should highlight you in the manner that will grab the reviewer's attention quickly and hold it for more than just a keyword check.
    Jer 29: 11-13



  3. #3
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    Good question!! And, I'm perplexed too!

    LinkedIn just had a similar question and it seemed one page resumes were recommended right out of school. Also some people report HR folks scanning just page one. Not totally clear what the large company applicant tracking systems prefer. (They are supposed to use intelligent keyword searches (sounds oxymoronic to me).

    However, if you're near Chronicle Homeworld (DC), government and government-based jobs tend to want the multi-page life story (really a curriculum vitae). And the government employee resumes I've seen list every single half-day training class ever taken.

    Mine is now a four page tome that shocks me with it's length, but has enough detail to let agencies/contractors, etc. have a better idea of what I've done.

    On formatting, while I love the easy to read look of bullet points - if your resume is going into an automated applicant tracking system - it won't work. For those, you're best with plain text, no bullets, bold; it looks horrible to you, but the gatekeeping computer can read it.



  4. #4
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    As an HR manager, I appreciate a well formatted resume. Two pages at most, not including a cover letter. One page containing relevant experience and a second page containing references. Keep the resume short and sweet, avoid using "buzzwords".

    If you have a long work history, only go into detail on experience relevant to they job you are applying for. If you have a short work history, go into detail on all of your experience. Avoid detailing your entire school career, unless it is absolutely relevant to the position you are applying for. If you must detail your schooling, a curriculum vitae instead of, or in addition to, a resume may be appropriate.

    You should put your name, address, phone and (work appropriate) email information in a heading at the top of the page, but avoid over decorating that area (just google resume templates and you'll see what I mean by over decorating). I prefer that information to be centered, but that's just a personal opinion and is by no means the only way to do it. List details in bullet points on the resume; it's easier to read that way. Easier to read increases the chance that someone will actually read it.

    If you choose to include a cover letter, explain why you would like the job and give a "mini bio" that highlights the information in your resume and lets the hiring manager know that you put some thought into applying for the position intead of just sending generic resumes to every possible employer.

    Remember that spelling, grammar and punctuation are important. So many people seem to forget that spell checker isn't perfect. Have somebody proof read if you can; they'll catch mistakes you might not. Use nice paper and envelopes if you are sending the resume in the mail or hand delivering it. It shows you have an attention to detail.

    If you are sending the resume via email or uploading to a website, make sure that your formatting carries over. I prefer people send their resumes in .pdf format to avoid that. If you need a .pdf writer, download cutePDF. It is a free .pdf writer that sets up and operates like a printer, except it prints a pdf that can be read with any pdf reader.
    Last edited by Thoroughbred in Color; Nov. 2, 2012 at 01:28 PM. Reason: missing word
    It is only through labor and painful effort, by grim energy and resolute courage, that we move on to better things.
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  5. #5
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    One of the things that has been suggested to me by HR managers a job seekers (that have found great jobs) alike is getting rid of the objective in favor of a 'summary' of sorts. Everyone knows we're looking for jobs....that's why we're applying! Instead, the summary allows to focus on relevant skills for the position.

    This is particularly helpful if you're not a 'dead on' candidate for the position (ie, you don't have to recommended degree) but know you'd do very well. For example, many PR positions in the animal agriculture industry that I've looked at prefer the candidate have a degree in journalism, communications, or public relations . I'm in Animal Agribusiness, but have 10+ years of competitive speaking experience. That's in my summary because I have developed the same skills, just in a different way.
    To be loved by a horse should fill us with awe, for we hath not deserved it.



  6. #6
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    So much helpful advice--thanks to all.

    AAhunterjumper, one of the reasons I asked is because I knew that, as you said, resumes for federal positions are often absurdly long relative to what would be appropriate for the private sector. Go figure!

    I'm also thrown by "requirements" that may not necessarily be requirements. I vaguely recall reading that if you have a certain percentage (75?) of the "required" qualifications, you should still apply. But if the degree itself is wrong? I hate this whole process and all the uncertainty that goes with more than I can say. I find it completely saps my confidence--and I'm someone who's pretty damn confident when it comes to my abilities. It's just the PROCESS--the applying, resume-customizing, and (horror) interviewing that just somehow really freaks me out. And that's the exact OPPOSITE way I need to feel in order to push myself to actually DO everything that's required. Ugh.


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  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by randomequine View Post
    One of the things that has been suggested to me by HR managers a job seekers (that have found great jobs) alike is getting rid of the objective in favor of a 'summary' of sorts. Everyone knows we're looking for jobs....that's why we're applying! Instead, the summary allows to focus on relevant skills for the position.

    This is particularly helpful if you're not a 'dead on' candidate for the position (ie, you don't have to recommended degree) but know you'd do very well. For example, many PR positions in the animal agriculture industry that I've looked at prefer the candidate have a degree in journalism, communications, or public relations . I'm in Animal Agribusiness, but have 10+ years of competitive speaking experience. That's in my summary because I have developed the same skills, just in a different way.

    See to me, that highlights reel of your professional experience should be in your cover letter. And I send a personalized (often from scratch) cover letter to EVERY job, even if they don't ask for it. Depending on the employer I'll either attach it as a separate document or put it straight into the email body.

    I really like the http://www.askamanager.org/ blog for job advice, and there's a nice search function on the right.
    "Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out." ~John Wooden

    Phoenix Animal Rescue



  8. #8
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    The cover letter tells me you bothered to really be interested in THIS job.



  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thoroughbred in Color View Post
    As an HR manager, I appreciate a well formatted resume. Two pages at most, not including a cover letter. One page containing relevant experience and a second page containing references. Keep the resume short and sweet, avoid using "buzzwords".

    If you have a long work history, only go into detail on experience relevant to they job you are applying for. If you have a short work history, go into detail on all of your experience. Avoid detailing your entire school career, unless it is absolutely relevant to the position you are applying for. If you must detail your schooling, a curriculum vitae instead of, or in addition to, a resume may be appropriate.

    You should put your name, address, phone and (work appropriate) email information in a heading at the top of the page, but avoid over decorating that area (just google resume templates and you'll see what I mean by over decorating). I prefer that information to be centered, but that's just a personal opinion and is by no means the only way to do it. List details in bullet points on the resume; it's easier to read that way. Easier to read increases the chance that someone will actually read it.

    If you choose to include a cover letter, explain why you would like the job and give a "mini bio" that highlights the information in your resume and lets the hiring manager that you put some thought into applying for the position intead of just sending generic resumes to every possible employer.

    Remember that spelling, grammar and punctuation are important. So many people seem to forget that spell checker isn't perfect. Have somebody proof read if you can; they'll catch mistakes you might not. Use nice paper and envelopes if you are sending the resume in the mail or hand delivering it. It shows you have an attention to detail.

    If you are sending the resume via email or uploading to a website, make sure that your formatting carries over. I prefer people send their resumes in .pdf format to avoid that. If you need a .pdf writer, download cutePDF. It is a free .pdf writer that sets up and operates like a printer, except it prints a pdf that can be read with any pdf reader.
    yes- THIS, in spades. and in BOLD

    45 applicants for one position became 8 possibles after one pass through- then 2 possibles after 3 more passes through the stack....crappy, disorganized, thoughtless, sloppy resumes will not get you a job.



  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by kateh View Post
    See to me, that highlights reel of your professional experience should be in your cover letter. And I send a personalized (often from scratch) cover letter to EVERY job, even if they don't ask for it. Depending on the employer I'll either attach it as a separate document or put it straight into the email body.
    I guess I should mention that I'm a soon-to-be graduate - many of the companies/positions I'm applying for ask that applicants don't send a cover letter with the resume, or I'm at career fairs that you don't have the opportunity to be specific to every position.

    However, I have used it in conjunction with a cover letter. Kind of a basic skill summary on the resume, and then how those skills apply to the specific position with the cover letter.
    To be loved by a horse should fill us with awe, for we hath not deserved it.



  11. #11
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    I've hired maybe 70 people over the years...

    Resume MUST be limited to ONE page UNLESS you have 10+ years experience in the industry. IF you go with TWO pages (again, 10+ years!), make sure to put your name and contact info on both pages.

    Otherwise, posters on here had good comments.

    I would go through a pile of resumes and eliminate anything with inconsistent formatting (fonts, alignment, etc) or typos. You would be shocked at how many candidates are eliminated that way, especially for roles that require attention to detail.

    And usually if you make good use of all your space (left to right, margins, etc), you can fit a lot onto one page. You want your page to look professional and "full" without being cluttered.

    And your cover letter should say why you want this particular role.

    Good luck!!
    Born under a rock and owned by beasts!



  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by randomequine View Post
    I guess I should mention that I'm a soon-to-be graduate - many of the companies/positions I'm applying for ask that applicants don't send a cover letter with the resume, or I'm at career fairs that you don't have the opportunity to be specific to every position.
    Then just have a great one page resume with nice, clean font, good action words, and good use of space (not too much blank space). On nice paper to hand out.
    Born under a rock and owned by beasts!



  13. #13
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    Arrgh! Action words! Self-description and self-praise are so hard for me! I'm a smart, articulate, hard worker who can do just about anything with very little supervision and a tiny bit of training. I also didn't quite finish my (pretty useless) English degree and have spent the last 12 years in 2 crappy jobs mostly because I have zero idea of how to market myself. Since I'm moving for SO's job, I'm seriously considering just starting with a temp agency so employers can get to know me outside a piece of paper.

    I had a pro help me write a resume last time, and it was still awful. There MUST be a way to explain that I'd be an asset in any position that doesn't require prior knowledge, but I feel completely powerless to present that on a piece of paper, unless I could just write it like I explained it here.
    Holy crap, how does Darwin keep missing you? ~Lauruffian



  14. #14
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    Maybe totaly off the origional question...
    But how does one handle someone who chose the military over college? Over 26yrs plenty of superversory, etc. Also lots of misc training military training like navigation, nuke,chem,bio warfare etc training.
    What does one do for that?
    Friend of bar .ka



  15. #15
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    Bumknees, make a skills based resume, rather than a chronological resume. And don't tell me your security clearance level or other military jargon. It translates to me as "I don't know how to function outside of the military." Civilian HR folks may be either put off or intimidated by the jargon, titles, etc.



  16. #16
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    Be sure to include accomplishments in your descriptions under each job experience header. Real, actually accomplishments (saved $X by instituting X process; increased website traffic by X within 3 months; streamlined X process by X, freeing up time for more X, etc. You get the picture). Employers don't just want to know your past duties, but what you are capable of and driven to accomplish.

    I personally like the Summary section; that often allows people to fit in your best qualifications up front, especially if you've had varied experience, and it might help get the hiring manager's attention quickly. It also helps you fit in some additional key words that were in the job description for scanning software so it's more likely to be picked up in put in a consideration stack.

    When I'm hiring for my department, I will look at a resume first to see if the experience even remotely fits what I'm looking for and THEN go back and read the cover letter if I'm even slightly interested. I get too many applications to read everything at first until I can weed out some.

    And - for the love of god - please customize your cover letter. Don't use a standard one for every job. Please give me an idea of why you want THIS job, why you'd excel at it, etc. Don't be cutesy, and please don't use too many exclamation points or I will think you are 12.

    Also: please don't list something like "most cheerful cheerleader award" from college. I had someone list something like that (it was not a leadership or academic award), and my eyes practically rolled out of my head, especially since this person was five years out of college.



  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by katarine View Post
    Bumknees, make a skills based resume, rather than a chronological resume. And don't tell me your security clearance level or other military jargon. It translates to me as "I don't know how to function outside of the military." Civilian HR folks may be either put off or intimidated by the jargon, titles, etc.
    I think that depends on the job - some jobs actually have a need for security clearances, especially for a contractor or a consulting agency that does work for the government. Include the clearance level as appropriate.

    Bumknees, in your case, I would definitely use a summary section first giving an idea of your capabilities, and then a skills-based format below that.



  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Thoroughbred in Color View Post
    If you choose to include a cover letter, explain why you would like the job and give a "mini bio" that highlights the information in your resume and lets the hiring manager that you put some thought into applying for the position intead of just sending generic resumes to every possible employer.
    I recently had a friend who wanted to apply to two different positions at one company and her resumes were tailored to each position since each position required significantly different focus on her competencies. But when you go to the website there is only opportunity to submit one resume. The problem is that a generic resume would likely not get the attention of HR - both were training positions - one very technical and primarily delivery and one corporate level, regulatory and compliance including development and she had plenty of info pertaining to each but very difficult to write one resume. How do you handle cases such as this?



  19. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by PaintedHunter View Post
    I think that depends on the job - some jobs actually have a need for security clearances, especially for a contractor or a consulting agency that does work for the government. Include the clearance level as appropriate.

    Bumknees, in your case, I would definitely use a summary section first giving an idea of your capabilities, and then a skills-based format below that.
    Of course: Which goes back to the common sense question of 'what kind of job am I applying for, where is it, and what do they need?"And you draft THAT resume. When I was on the hunt I had 2-3 different resumes.

    I am currently looking for an instructional designer/trainer for ambulatory healthcare software training. As a result, I don't give two flips about one's security clearance, and the mumbo jumbo of military jargon and too many acronyms that don't translate or mean a darn thing to me- when I get THAT resume, I tend to skip past it. I don't know what it's saying, and that's not my fault or my responsibility to discover the answers. Hell's bells that person should be thinking in trainer mode when they write that resume, training me to call them and set up an interview



  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by bumknees View Post
    Maybe totaly off the origional question...
    But how does one handle someone who chose the military over college? Over 26yrs plenty of superversory, etc. Also lots of misc training military training like navigation, nuke,chem,bio warfare etc training.
    What does one do for that?
    DISCLAIMER: I have NO professional experience or training in resume writing.

    With that said, unless the position you want REQUIRES a college degree, in which case you may be out of luck, there must be a TON of stuff you can pick out of your long military experience that would help you market yourself and would serve you well in the private sector.

    Instances when you exhibited leadership skills? Implemented a new system or way of doing things? Increased efficiency somehow? Delivered something more than was asked or required of you? What did you do or learn during those 26 years? I'd really analyze your military experience, think hard about how it correlates to private-industry experience (and particularly to the position you want), and use what you come up with to put your resume together. I believe a hundred percent that you can make that experience work FOR you. And your experience also gives you an edge in the federal government job "market."

    Also, are you aware of the Chamber of Commerce's Hiring Our Heroes program?
    http://www.uschamber.com/hiringourheroes
    Last edited by Windsor1; Nov. 2, 2012 at 11:42 AM.



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