The Resume: The Three S’s

The sole purpose of the resume is to get you an interview. Employers almost never hire based on a resume alone: however, the resume is the first and often the only thing a potential employer sees of a job candidate before a phone or in-person interview and must be immediately engaging to the person reading the resume.

There is no set format for a resume; however, the most effective resumes follow the rule of the Three S’s: Keep it Simple, Straightforward and Short.

Keep it Simple

Make it Simple to read and understand. Use an easy to read format and font. Excessive blocking, shading and the use of colors may make it appear like a graphic designer’s dream but it will complicate the lives of employers and recruiters who have to work with it. The resume may be impossible to scan or enter into a resume data base without extensive revision, something that most busy HR departments and recruiters do not have time for. The use of resume databases, which rely on keyword searches and electronic retrieval, by employers and recruiters is increasingly common. With e-mail and online resumes the issue is even more important. Avoid the use of industry jargon and excessive abbreviations. The first person to read the resume, usually a recruiter or HR employee, must be able to understand the resume in order to pass it on to the hiring manager.

Keep it Straightforward

Keep the resume focused and Straightforward. Don’t spend a lot of effort trying to exhaustively catalog your employment history and experiences. Include the details of your experience that directly or indirectly reflect on your qualifications for the position or that are necessary to explain gaps in your employment history. Don’t go into a lot of detail on irrelevant experience. For example, very few employers care what jobs a college graduate had while they were in High School and College unless the jobs directly affect the qualifications or experience required for the position or are needed to explain gaps in the educational or employment record.

Keep it Short

Keep the resume Short and to the point. One or two pages max. A ten page resume with small type face, narrow margins, and no white space will almost guarantee your resume is going to go unread and may get it into the shredder immediately. The average recruiter only spends about 30 seconds looking at a resume for the first time. Make it easy for the recruiter to get to the “good parts” about you and your qualifications.