Saturday, February 13, 2010

Guy Kawasaki's 1/2/3 Rule of Resumes

In Reality Check Guy Kawasaki urges people to "think of your resume as pitch for you, the product". Here's Kawasaki's 1-2-3 rule of resumes with my comments:
Reality Check: The Irreverent Guide to Outsmarting, Outmanaging, and Outmarketing Your Competition1 page long. When some job candidates read this, they will think, "Guy is referring to the hoi polloi and unwashed masses, not me. I have ten years of experience at four different companies covering five different positions. My resume needs to be two--maybe even three--pages to adequately explain the totality of my wonderfulness. And the more I mention, the more the company might see things that they like." As a rule of thumb, if you can't pitch your company or yourself in one page, your idea is stupid and you suck respectively.
When you apply to a job your resume is usually uploaded into an applicant tracking system. Most create a short list of candidates based on keywords. Ensure that your resume has the right keywords by including keywords from the job description. Keep your resume short but it's fine to have more than one page. Just make sure the first pages of your resume is "eyeball" friendly in case an human being actually looks it.
2 key points. Your resume (and interview) should communicate only two perhaps three key points. Key points include pertinent work experience, applicable education, or a love for what the company does. One key point is too few, and three is on the edge of too much.
Employers also want to know about your accomplishments and results with previous employers. Include 3 to 4 bullets points of your results for each position.
3 sections. "Two key points" means that your resume should have only three sections: contact information, work experience, and educational background. This specifically excludes "objectives" (do you really think that a company cares what you want to be when you grow up?), "references upon request" (duh, of course you'll have to give references if you're asked), and "outside interests" (that Lamaze class training will come in really handy when he company stops delivering software by C-section, but not right now).
If you include an "objective" on your resume make sure it is the job you are applying for. Outside interests are valuable if it's volunteer work or if you were a semi-pro baseball player and the company has a softball team. Your outside interests are conversation starters and may provide a common ground between you and the interviewer and differeniate you from a candidate with similar qualifications.

Tim Collins

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