30 April 2009

My Great Resume is all Wrong

Developing a good resume is hard work.  I have a great resume.  I have worked with various resume gurus and and spent countless hours working on it.  I have a one page and two page version.  I start with my 4 page resume and edit it down to one or two pages depending on the job.  Tailoring your resume is an important step for each position you apply for.  Sending out 25 copies of a resume broad enough to cover all 25 positions will produce fewer results that 3 tailored resumes.  My resume is full of action words and results.  I don’t include anything without a reason.

But my resume that is great is not producing the results i want.  I recent sat down with a recruiting manager that reviewed my resume.  I sent him a copy of my resume and told him of the results i was getting with it.  They were poor.  I was getting a call in every 50-75 applications.  Not the 1 per 25 average i see different locations.  He told me my resume looks good and requested we sit down for a discussion.  He asked about my background similar to a normal interview.  He made some notes then told me the bad news.  My resume was great.  It was possibly the best resume of someone getting such poor results.  I even accounted for time self-employed consulting.  There was only one problem that was causing my heartache.  My chronological resume was not a functional resume.

All my life i learned that a resume listed your work from the most recent to the oldest.  Included the positions relevant to the one i was applying for.  Kept the action words and results that showed i have the skills from the position description.  Sent my resume with a cover letter that showcased why i fit the job.  I had also learned that functional resumes were for people who had something to hide.  Functional resumes were for covering up that you did not have the experience.  

This recruiting manager pointed out that many resumes are not scanned by someone other than the hiring manager.  These individuals often screen out applications where the most recent position is not in their field.  People were not seeing that i had the skills only that my last job was in a different field.  He suggested that i needed to build a functional resume.  I needed to to highlight my skills not my recent positions.  Functional resumes are for people changing careers.  You want someone to see your skills first.  Now before i send resumes i have another task to complete; determine if this company will accept a functional resume.

1 comment:

  1. One of the things they told me in law school was eliminate anything irrelevant...keep it all to a page. These people are looking at a ton and will never get past a first page anyway. When I made the move from IT to law, I had to phrase each job not in what I actually did, but just with those skills that actually highlighted attributes needed for the job I was going for. As time went on and I obtained some legal experience, the older jobs dropped off completely, whether or not I could tailor them to relevancy.

    I do like the idea of a functional resume for IT, but it may also highlight where you're weak or out of date. For instance, exchange administration has changed so much in the past 2 years just with blacklisting, greylisting, and frontbridge. Just make sure you're careful in the wording you choose on everything. I'm keeping my ear out and will let you know if I come across anything. - Justin Walsh