I have been reading with interest a discussion on a LinkedIn group about the importance of an effective pitch for the resume and the suggested optimal length. The conversation has wandered down a number of different pathways but after listening to all sides of the discussion here is my take.
Setting the scene – Recruiters have a very short space of time to read any document put in front of them at the beginning of a search. An advertisement I placed for a sales person received many hundreds of responses and I can assure you that if the opening paragraph didn’t grab my attention I moved on to the next one.
Importance of the pitch – The majority of coaches or counselors that I know will always recommend that an applicant produces a strong opening section to their resume that tells the reader “Who they are, What they do and the Value they bring to the table”. The words you use are key to this being successful and the difference between using the words “good and great” can be the difference between getting an interview or not. The majority of work that we do today requires us to communicate with others more than ever before and to that end being able to write a summary and communicate your value in words is very important.
Remember that an employer is looking for someone who not only can do the job but also someone who also is enthusiastic and passionate about what they are doing.
While you can never know all of the requirements that an employer is looking to meet you can usually determine, by researching similar positions the necessary skills and characteristics. Use this research to build you opening summary, demonstrate that you understand the requirements and can fill their needs.
There are no guarantees that can be given in regard to getting an interview based on the structure or format of your resume. The best you can do is deliver a document that is:
- Well written
- Spell checked and with
- Sufficient white space
Resume length – The days of the one page resume (unless you are just out of school) are gone and today’s resumes tend to float around the two page mark. The opening section is usually customized with the “Experience” section usually remaining static.
Insure that the accomplishments you include in each section are, as far as possible quantified and relevant.
Include the sections that are appropriate and remember this is NOT your life history. The resume should be interesting, compelling and leave the reader saying WOW, I need to talk with this person