As a retained executive recruiter, it goes without saying that I read thousands of resumes each year. One of the outcomes of this role is to meet many candidates who are interested in the positions for which I recruit and, as will always happen, there are by far more interested candidates for these roles than there are viable ones. The reasons will vary . . . experience that does not meet position requirements, not the right culture fit for the candidate or the organization, geographic issues. . . and the list goes on.
I believe in really getting to know candidates as this allows me to act as an advocate for them as they progress in a search. I enjoy getting to know the broader circle of candidates, as well, because I understand that if you're not right for a current search, you may be for the next one.
All of these conversations start with resumes . . . my first glimpse into a candidate's professional story. Some styles of resumes stand out for me over others. A preferred consistency in style started emerging after I did an exercise where I spread dozens of resumes across a table. I then started pulling out the resumes that caught my eye because they were attractive . . . they stood out because they were inviting. I would then focus on content; it was a case of form over function, at the outset.
When talking with candidates, whether in the context of a specific search or during a "getting to know you" discussion, I would sometimes learn that what I am hearing from them in our conversations and what I am reading about them from their resumes, sometimes do not match. The more I learned about the candidate, the more advice I'd offer about changes to his/her resume that could provide a more accurate reflection of who they are. In some cases, I rewrote some sections . . . in a few instances, I've completely overhauled the resume. The suggestions, though, were always consistent with what I saw in the "survivor" resumes from the Great Table Experiment of 2009.
What emerged from the process was a clean, crisp resume format that was tested by several members of my community who were actively seeking new positions. The feedback they received was very positive and a template was formalized.
Before releasing the template to a broader group, I thought a few pages discussing why I was recommending certain styles would be appropriate. I realized that this would be no small feat . . . that a few paragraphs would not do. Thus, the User's Guide, which has ended up being 80+ pages of resume guidance from my perspective, was born. As I mention, you can ask 100 recruiters or resume writers or career coaches their opinions and get 100 different answers. These are mine based on what resonates best with me.
With the hiring landscape improving, why not improve your opportunity for being noticed by making some changes . . . or completing overhauling your resume? I am attaching the Resume Template and the accompanying User's Guide for your use. I'm more than happy to answer questions about the Template and Guide on my company's Facebook page. I hope you find these tools helpful as you start the New Year with a new perspective on your search efforts.