As a general rule, a resume that's too long will buy you a one-way ticket to the "no" pile. But the opposite is also true; a resume that's too short, or tries to cram too much information into a limited space, will be difficult for a recruiter or hiring manager to follow and could result in rejection, even if your qualifications are top-notch.
Length was the first issue Regal Resumés' Caitlin Sampson, CHRP, CPRW, CEIP and career consultant, tackled when she approached Andrew Lomasky's resume. "Andy's original resume was condensed onto one page, which made the resume difficult to read because of the large blocks of text. Typically a resume can be up to two pages if you are applying for a management position and you have between five and ten years of experience," Sampson says.
Expanding Lomasky's resumé to two pages gave her the breathing room to address the other challenges she saw. "I was overwhelmed with the amount of content and knew that our focus would be finding a target and narrowing in on these areas while effectively using the space and moving to a second page," says Sampson.
Lomasky was working in IT consulting but was looking for an IT manager position within a corporate organization or a senior IT manager/CIO consulting role. Once they'd established this direction, Sampson focused on highlighting Andy's IT skills as well as his relevant management and leadership skills.
"My resume was lacking in several areas, including communicating clear results and accomplishments on previous projects, clearly describing my career experiences in a way that positioned me for the types of managerial positions I was targeting, and overall personal branding that made me come across as genuinely interested and experienced," says Lomasky.
To address these issues, Sampson added a tagline and a catchy statement to draw the reader in, as well as a professional overview that provides a brief summary of Andy's qualifications and the potential value that he can add to an organization. In the first sentence of Andy's responsibilities for Jabian Consulting, his direct and indirect reports were included to showcase his managerial experience.
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Sampson adds that responsibilities and achievements were divided, so readers could clearly see the value Andy brought to his position with Jabian, and how that made him stand out from other IT managers. Since there was more room to work with, she expanded on the bullet points to better explain Lomasky's accomplishments. "For example, we took 'Received several awards for outstanding client service from both client and firm leadership' and elaborated on that; it now reads, 'Performance Recognition -- Earned multiple "Encore" awards for "Outstanding Client Service" from both employer and client companies (nominated by engagement managers and team directors). Recognized for above-and-beyond efforts, including providing additional work that benefitted the client,'" says Sampson.
With the resume itself expanded to fit more than one page, and the focus narrowed to demonstrate Lomasky's business strategy, innovation, project management and team mentoring abilities, he was much better positioned for a more strategic IT position that could use the depth and breadth of his entire experience, instead of simply focusing on project-based and company-based projects.
"I was surprised that the core content about my career experiences was actually good, but that it wouldn't hit the mark with a recruiter reviewing resumes, especially one that might not be technically proficient or familiar with IT. Though the jobs, projects and timelines were all the same, the way it was organized and the emphasis placed on certain accomplishments completely changed the way a reader would perceive it. This process was more than anything about rebranding myself and the way I personally went to market for the type of job I wanted," says Lomasky.
Landing a dream job
Armed with the new-and-improved resume, Lomasky set out to find his dream job. The new version of his resume helped him get the attention of recruiters and hiring managers, and ultimately helped him get in the door of his current firm, RSM McGladrey. "I've been working on true IT strategy projects for mid-market companies, the type of work I have always wanted to do. At McGladrey, I recently won a consulting role as an outsourced CIO for a non-profit organization in an industry I am truly passionate about. I firmly believe that my resume makeover had a direct and tangible impact on getting to where I am today," Lomasky says.