The New Rules of Resumes

The Unexpected Rules of Resumes

Get ready for the resume tips you need to know to stand out.

As a Senior Recruiter at Concord for over 10 years, Shawn Moloczij has seen the best - and the worst - resumes out there. Here, her tips to keep your resume in top shape.

A candidate sends you a resume. What’s the first thing you notice?

I immediately notice formatting – it needs to be easy to read, first and foremost. Don’t be afraid of white space! It’s much easier to consume, which is paramount when you’re reviewing 50+ resumes per week.

I always like to see a summary section at the top. I want to know in three sentences or fewer exactly what you do. Tell me succinctly.

How much time do you spend reading any one resume?

When I first come across a resume from a new candidate, I probably spend a minute or so skimming it over. Based on the opportunities I have available, I prioritize the available candidates and start setting up the first follow-up call. It’s at that point that I really dig through the resume. I actually read each one very carefully – word for word – and understand what you do, what you’ve done, and try to thoroughly know you. It’s amazing how many typos I find this way!

What’s the most common mistake you come across?

Simple typos that spell check won’t find. You can’t imagine how many times I’ve seen the word “manger” when someone meant “manager.” Definitely use spell check, but don’t forget to have another human review your work. Fresh eyes catch things that you might otherwise gloss over.

Any immediate disqualifiers or red flags that make you think twice before working with an applicant?

I look for pretty consistent, steady work history. Big gaps in employment are definitely questioned, but not an immediate disqualifier. There are certainly legitimate reasons for taking time off – perhaps you stayed home to be with kids, traveled, or just endured a tough economic year. It’s important to be able to articulate the reason, however.

In consulting in particular, I prefer to see longer duration contracts (over a year). However, if you stay in one place for too long, you become less valuable as a consultant, because you miss out on experience at other companies or in other industries. It’s a tough balance.

It should go without saying, but it’s important to be truthful on your resume. Don’t embellish what you’ve done. It always comes out throughout the screening process.

What’s something you don’t care about on a resume that might surprise people?

Cover letters. If I want to know what you’ve done, I’ll look to your resume and not waste time sifting through extra paragraphs.

Throughout the course of your career, any resumes stand out – good or bad?

I’ve seen thousands, but very few stand out in either direction. I recently received a resume that was 16 pages long, which was excessive, to say the least. Even if you have a 20+ year career, no one needs to go further in depth than the last ten years of work experience.

On the opposite end of the spectrum, the best resumes, in general, are the ones I can read and understand exactly what you’ve done in under 2 minutes.

Any last pieces of advice to someone looking to refresh their resume?

It’s repetitive, but worth repeating – make sure there aren’t any typos! Try to keep your resume visually interesting. Double check the accuracy of your employment dates. Use the work experience section as a means to highlight your accomplishments, not just giving a job description. Anyone looking at your resume will know what the role means, but they need to know the most important things you personally did. Lastly, no need to limit to one page – instead, use a font size I can read and keep it around three pages.

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