Resume Writing Economics

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Every word of a resume costs something. Does that sound foreign to you? It shouldn't.

Somebody is reading that resume. Maybe several people. That person's time is worth money. The more time you take to sell yourself in your resume and your cover letter, the more “expensive" your resume is for the people reading it.

That's really where one-page rule for resumes came from. It's still a good rule of thumb, but I recommend using two-pages if you have more than a couple years of solid, quantifiable experience. Whatever length you decide on, remember that words cost. You want to keep it as short as you can without compromising the marketing effectiveness of the document.

Consider the typical recruiter combing through hundreds of resumes for a particular position. If it takes him 30 minutes to read your career novella, you're doomed. If it takes him 5 second to read your kickin’ summary of highly targeted, dollar-quantified career accomplishments. . . well, if you listen closely, you'll hear angels singing.

Resume readers like EXTREMELY high ROI on their reading.

How can you give it to them?

First, keep it as short as possible. Did I mention you should keep it short? Anyway, remember to keep it short.

Second, make it easy to read. You can do three things to make it easier:

  • Make the beginning an absolutely fantastic summary of quantified accomplishments and vital skills
  • Format it well, with lots of white space (ask any marketing expert if white space sells)
  • Summarize old jobs (over 8-10 years), use bullets to highlight key achievements of more recent ones

If the beginning knocks ‘em dead, you'll have a distinct advantage over most other candidates. . . who leave ‘em yawning. If the resume has ample white space between the shockingly good quanitifed accomplishments during your career, they'll be drooling well before page two. If you don't make them slog through your summer job at a fast food restaurant back in high school, they'll thank you for it. . . and keep reading.

Third, and most important, pay the reader back. This is simple. Imagine you have a budget when you're writing your resume. Every word you write costs, and your remaining budget gets smaller. But if you put in a crystal-clear, highly-targetd, dollar-quantified accomlishment, your remaining budget goes back UP.

Extending that analogy, your goal is give the reader your resume for free. Better yet, give the reader a profit on your resume. If you do that, you'll be in the select group that gets interviews.

Copyright (c) by Roy Miller

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