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Donâ€™t sacrifice value for brevity
Dear Sam: I am 57 years old and was downsized in February after almost 9 years on the job. I suspect the lack of interviews I have received relates directly to my rĂ©sumĂ©. My previous income was $70K with a $7K car allowance and all of my gas paid for. I have been a hiring manager, so I know a lot of applications require you to present a salary history; when providing this information, I am afraid this is pricing me out of the market. What do you suggest? â€“ Art
Dear Art: When you are required to submit a salary history, be sure your previous salaries are placed on your rĂ©sumĂ© and not on a separate sheet of paper, which would allow for quick disqualification based on an assumption of desired compensation. I actually suspect, however, that your rĂ©sumĂ© is hurting you in more areas than that. From taking a look at your rĂ©sumĂ©, I can see you havenâ€™t done your experience justice. Itâ€™s good that you havenâ€™t included all of your professional positions; instead, you have included a nice listing of those held more recently. My concern, however, is that you have described, in one section of your rĂ©sumĂ©, a 10-year position with 8 words. Even your most recent 9-year position was only afforded 51 words. How can the reader see â€śvalueâ€ť when you only give those long-term positions that much space on a piece of paper? Please take another look at your content, take time to exploreâ€”and quantifyâ€”your accomplishments, and use your rĂ©sumĂ© to take the reader through the journey of your career as you climbed the ladder from assistant to regional manager. I think when you really develop your rĂ©sumĂ©, you will find your phone isnâ€™t quite so quiet.
Dear Sam: My rĂ©sumĂ© is three pages long. How do I condense it without omitting important information? â€“ Cindi
Dear Cindi: While I do not know the extent of your career, letâ€™s cover some general principles to help determine the appropriate length for your rĂ©sumĂ©. First, a rĂ©sumĂ© is not a narrative of your entire career. Instead, it is a strategic image of what you have done that positions you for what you now want to do. Think of your rĂ©sumĂ© like a brochure for a product. A brochure doesnâ€™t tell you all of the technical details of the product being marketed; instead, it highlights key points to gain the interest of and prompt action from the target buyer. There is a â€śruleâ€ť in rĂ©sumĂ© writing that you should â€śpresent the big and save the small,â€ť meaning your rĂ©sumĂ© should focus on the high points of your career, leaving supporting details to be discussed during a personal interview.
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