just won't go away. Take the one that your resume is only supposed
to be one page long. Since the late 1980s, I have given speeches and
workshops to get workers to stop fretting about length and focus on
content. I even wrote a book on it. But the rumor prevails.
So here, from my you-may-think-it's-true-but-it's-not file, is
why you should erase this crippling belief from your mind.
Whenever someone brings up the one-page resume rumor - which is
usually the first thing when I'm trying to help him or her develop
a new and improved version - I ask, "Why do you think that?" Responses
are always the same: "Employers only spend 10 seconds reading your
"Ten seconds? I don't know about you, but I can only read
about 30 words in 10 seconds, let alone a one-page resume. What
could an employer possibly glean from a 10-second read?
What these busy managers who are inundated with hordes of resumes
are more likely to do, is glance, not read. They take a quick scan
of the document to decide if it's worth actually reading at a calmer
moment in their day.
To get them to that point with your resume, a short document is
not the solution. Shoot for creating an enticing one.
In addition, if you've got experience, a one-page resume can't
do you much justice. Let's say the employer is looking for someone
with ten years in public relations. If you're worth your salt, a
one-pager does not leave room to summarize your knowledge about
media and community relations and expertise in employee communications
over 10 years.
Glance they do. That's why you need to highlight the most relevant
information someone in your industry cares about with lively language
in an easy-to-read format that helps the reader quickly see you're
a contender. Even with the tendency to scan, if you can say boring
things in an interesting way, zip up descriptions of yourself and
share juicy facts that show you're a star, the manager might even
forgo e-mail to read for three minutes.
One way to get and keep their attention is to offer a bird's-eye
view of yourself in the first section of your resume where they
will probably glance first. This is where you describe your experience,
mention that you're self-motivated and can evaluate complex legal
cases and express ideas succinctly and have a reputation for prosecuting
difficult patent cases. You'll get into details of where you did
all this in the experience section and later, show examples of how
you made a difference.
If it captures your individuality, downplays potential liabilities
and gives proof you have what it takes to do the job you want, then
make your resume more than one page. So what if it takes two or
three pages to separate you from the pack? If you don't get noticed,
what's the point?
It's unfortunate that so many people are conditioned to create
a short resume, believing the employer will give only a 10-second
read. It would be much wiser to develop a document that easily captivates
an employer upon first look so that he will give you the time of
Career consultant Andrea Kay is the author of "Greener Pastures:
How To Find a Job In Another Place," "Interview Strategies That
Will Get You the Job You Want," and "Resumes That Will Get You the
Job You Want." Send questions to her at #133, 2692 Madison Rd.,
Cincinnati, OH 45208; www.andreakay.com.