R\u00e9sum\u00e9s are the stock and trade of the recruiting business. Thousands flood a typical executive search firm every month. With that kind of volume, no recruiter has time to read every single word of every r\u00e9sum\u00e9 that passes in front of him. So how can a job-seeker ensure that his r\u00e9sum\u00e9 captures the recruiter\u2019s attention? By avoiding some all-too-common mistakes such as long-winded summaries and acronym alphabet soups, and by adhering to the following best practices.\n#1 It\u2019s a r\u00e9sum\u00e9, not your molecular structure.\nForgo long prose in favor of uncluttered, bulleted lists that capture the essence of your work experiences. Candidates need to get to the point quickly so that recruiters\u2014who are notorious for their short attention spans\u2014will put your r\u00e9sum\u00e9 in the keep pile. If you\u2019re not qualified, your r\u00e9sum\u00e9 won\u2019t make it anyway, but if you are, you want to make sure it doesn\u2019t get tossed because it was too dense to read. Don\u2019t list every gold star you got in your career. Instead, highlight a few of the significant contributions you made in each of your jobs. Clearly state what the contribution was and why it mattered. If you get your point across succinctly, you\u2019ll have much better luck getting in the door, which is the point of your r\u00e9sum\u00e9 in the first place. \n Related Links\n \n Poll: When Was the Last Time You Sent Out a Resume?\n \n Video Resumes: The Pros and Cons for Job-Seekers\n \n Your Resume Is Mission Critical\n \nIf you\u2019re making a transition from academia to industry, or if you are an accomplished executive who has authored articles, keep your publication list separate from your business r\u00e9sum\u00e9. You might wish to include a \u201cPublications and Presentations\u201d subhead on your r\u00e9sum\u00e9 where you can write something like, \u201cPublished over 30 articles in leading peer-reviewed publications in the chemical engineering field. Complete bibliography available on request.\u201d \n#2 Focus on the business benefits your skills offer.\nDon\u2019t confuse features and benefits. A car\u2019s feature is its six-speed automatic, electronic transmission. The benefits of that feature are smoother shifts, improved performance and better fuel economy. A feature of your r\u00e9sum\u00e9 might be \u201cinstalled new Cisco network at five worldwide sites.\u201d That doesn\u2019t tell the recruiter that the benefit was a reduction in the company\u2019s operating costs, or that it allowed global order entry, which helped increase sales by 12 percent. You may need to communicate some plain facts, such as the number of employees you supervised and the budget you were responsible for. Try to cast those facts in the context of the business objective they helped achieve or the opportunity they helped create. If you\u2019re applying for a technical position, make sure you explain why your technical expertise matters to the business. If you have experience in particularly hot areas such as offshore outsourcing, Web 2.0 or software as a service, make sure those buzzwords are prominent on your r\u00e9sum\u00e9 and state why they matter. \n#3 Put names in context.\nGive a one- or two-sentence description of each employer listed on your r\u00e9sum\u00e9. Even the most experienced recruiter can\u2019t claim to know every single company in a given industry, let alone those from outside his or her area of expertise. Give the name of the company, the location of its headquarters, and state its industry, size, and whether it\u2019s public or private. For example, \u201cxyloPhlegm Inc., Evansville, IN, is a public biotech company with $25M in annual revenues in 2006 and a market cap of $127M. Key products include xyLoxin for male pattern baldness and xyTox for sepsis.\u201d You don\u2019t need to copy the annual report, you just need to provide enough information to give your reader a general sense of the organization. \n#4 Avoid acronyms.\nSome technology executives\u2014both in IT and the life sciences industry\u2014want to demonstrate just how techie they are by throwing around a lot of jargon. I often see the following terms in r\u00e9sum\u00e9s that land on my desk: ERP, SAS, MEMS, HPLC, 510 (k) and MALDI\/TOF. Not everyone knows what these acronyms stand for, so spell them out and put them in layman\u2019s terms if necessary. If a recruiter or hiring manager can\u2019t understand your r\u00e9sum\u00e9, it\u2019ll get tossed. \n#5 Keep the formatting simple.\nThe vast majority of back-office work in recruiting is done electronically. Your r\u00e9sum\u00e9 will be entered into some kind of database so avoid fancy formatting, which increases the likelihood that the text won\u2019t import correctly. Tables are a disaster. Indents don\u2019t usually work. Custom bullets are a nightmare. Headers and footers wreak havoc. And forget about photos. Those elements might look nice on paper (or in your software), but they don\u2019t do so well when transmitted over the Internet. Tech-types sometimes try to show just how tech-savvy they are by creating highly designed r\u00e9sum\u00e9s, but recruiters are generally unimpressed. \n#6 Resist the urge to summarize.\nMany job-seekers include a summary at the beginning of their r\u00e9sum\u00e9 stating their strengths and the type of position they\u2019re seeking. The dark secret is that many recruiters don\u2019t read them. When we get a r\u00e9sum\u00e9, we want to be able to quickly determine whether the candidate\u2019s experiences and credentials match both the position we\u2019ve been retained to fill, and the specific criteria provided by our clients. Summaries don\u2019t provide the level of detail we\u2019re looking for. \nA summary may be appropriate for a general r\u00e9sum\u00e9 that you share with colleagues, but if you are applying for a particular position, I\u2019d delete it (or at the very least recast it to the position before submitting it). Another trend is to aggregate all your \u201cfeatures\u201d (Built an IT organization of 100 employees from the ground up; Led a transformation of the company\u2019s core computing platform in 12 months; Developed a state of the art, service-oriented loan processing application in six months) at the beginning of your r\u00e9sum\u00e9. Many of my colleagues and I don\u2019t like this format because it doesn\u2019t indicate at which company these wonderful accomplishments occurred. We generally prefer a straightforward, reverse chronological format. \n#7 Don\u2019t tell tall tales or lie through omission.\nFabricating or exaggerating facts on your r\u00e9sum\u00e9 is the kiss of death. Just ask Marilee Jones, MIT\u2019s dean of admissions who stepped down after nearly 30 years with the institution amidst a controversy over falsifying her academic credentials. While outright falsehoods are rare, glorifying positions or accomplishments is far more pervasive. A good recruiter will be able to detect hyperbole, and when they do, they\u2019re more inclined to turn your r\u00e9sum\u00e9 into a paper airplane. The temptation to exaggerate is just not worth the risk. \n Related Links\n \n Poll: When Was the Last Time You Sent Out a Resume?\n \n Video Resumes: The Pros and Cons for Job-Seekers\n \n Your Resume Is Mission Critical\n \nAlso avoid the temptation to downplay or downright avoid digressions in your career. \nSome professionals try to hide gaps in their work history by saying they \u201cconsulted\u201d during those periods. If you have legitimately started a consulting practice based on your experience in the industry, fine. Put it on your r\u00e9sum\u00e9. Many times, though, I see r\u00e9sum\u00e9s where every two- or three-month gap is represented as a consulting gig. I know that those \u201cconsulting gigs\u201d are code for \u201clooking for a job after being laid off.\u201d \nIt\u2019s okay to have spaces in your work history. Many workers make multiple career changes in a short period of time. They get laid off and spend four months or more looking for a new job. Sometimes a new position doesn\u2019t work out and an employee leaves after six months with the company. Those scenarios are far more common than they used to be and no longer carry the same stigma they once did. You don\u2019t need to highlight these left turns on your r\u00e9sum\u00e9, but don\u2019t try to hide them either because they will come back to haunt you. One of the first things any recruiter will do is check that the dates on your CV add up. \nMost job-seekers, especially those in IT, can benefit from revisiting their r\u00e9sum\u00e9s. IT professionals are particularly susceptible to loading their CVs with alphabet soup and not articulating the business value of their work. The dos and don\u2019ts listed in this story should help focus your r\u00e9sum\u00e9, whittle it down to the two or three pages that recruiters desire from experienced candidates, and ensure that it doesn\u2019t end up in the recycle bin. \nChristopher M. Palatucci, PhD, is the life sciences practice leader at Polachi, an executive search firm that serves clients in the technology, life sciences, venture capital and private equity industries. Palatucci has over 20 years\u2019 experience in the life sciences industry, having spent more than 10 in operational roles at biotechnology companies.