With recruiting season in full swing, it’s time to dust off your résumé and revamp it. If you are a staff member, chances are your résumé still lists you as being in college. That needs to change.
Everything you need to know to put together a successful résumé can be found here. It’s important to remember that every HR recruiter and headhunter is different, but the basics are covered here in enough detail to get you started.
Address: It is a good idea to list your mailing address if you are applying for positions local to you. If you are applying to opportunities in another city, it is best to leave your address off. I’ll explain how you address this issue in the next section. If you are concerned about privacy, leave it off altogether.
Certifications: List no more than two next to your name. You will highlight everything on your résumé, but you don’t need your certifications list to be longer than your name at the top.
Candidates oftentimes half-ass this section. It’s not entirely their fault, you see. Be too general — “I am looking for an accounting position with a financial services firm” — and you just wasted three lines of spacing on your résumé to state the obvious, wasting the time and patience of the recruiter. Be too specific and it might turn off the hiring manager.
You’re a big kid now. I don’t care what your university career services professional told you — do not list your education first. This made sense when you were still on campus, but even if you’ve been in the workforce for a year you are now a professional. List your professional work experience first.
You have two options. The popular method is to only list your current position. If you started with E&Y right after college and you are now a senior manager, it will be obvious that you grew and were promoted over the previous several years. Your bullet points will detail your most recent and relevant work experience, and they will end with more of the outdated tasks you were responsible for at one point. There is no reason to list out that you were an associate from 2002 to 2004; don’t waste your breath.
The second option is to list out job responsibilities for each position you’ve held. I don’t recommend this style, since it is can complicate the résumé and take up necessary space.
Detail each on their own. If you started at KPMG in tax but moved to audit, separate the two in such a way that the change is clear, however do not list KPMG as two different employers.
- DO use bullet points.
- DO not use run-on sentences or paragraphs.
- DO list your performance rankings as I talked about last week.
- DO highlight accomplishments.
- DO NOT use firm-specific acronyms.
- DO NOT refer to yourself with “I” or “me.” This is your résumé.
- DO list your clients as they are relevant to the employers you are applying to. If you are paranoid about this, use a description of your client.
- DO NOT be paranoid – your clients will be discussed in interviews.
- DO keep your punctuation consistent; end every bullet point with a period or do not – just don’t mix and match.
- DO not use present tense when describing your previous employer experience: use past tense grammar.
Keep it brief.
- List your college(s) and degree(s) earned. List them with the most recent degree first.
- List your GPA if it is 3.5 or higher and/or you earned academic honors. Also list academic honors if applicable.
- If you graduated in the last decade, I suggest listing the month and year of graduation.
What the hell are you waiting for? Get on it. I don’t want to hear the “it won’t be relevant in my next job because…” speech. I’m telling you — the job market is tight — your competition coming out of public is every peer of yours that is also looking to bail from their respective Big4 ship. If I’m an HR rep and I have 15 résumés on my desk, I can easily widdle the pile to eight if I remove the candidates that are not certified or are not working on it.
- Use bullet points
- List the dates of your involvement
- Memberships in relevant professional organizations
- Collegiate Greek Life involvement
- Collegiate varsity or other professional athletic involvement
- Community or church involvement that you are comfortable sharing
- Volunteer work you are currently participating in (like a mentorship program)
- Do not list:
- Several lines of detail for each position
- Every club or activity you participated in during college
- Anything related to high school
No, unless you are desperate to fill space. If you are desperate to fill space, you’re better off adding more to your work experience section. So, still no.
List systems that are universal. Being a master of PwC’s T&E systems is not a relevant system. Being proficient in Excel (v-lookups, macros) could be something you want to list under your work experience. Yes, the common thing to do is list skills out separately, but as a recruiter I find it much more efficient if you list them under on your job experience. This allows me to know where you earned the experience.
Space provided, I always suggest listing a few things. Keep them professional, honest, and make sure they are actual interests. Don’t list skydiving as a hobby if you did it once while you were in Vegas for your buddy’s bachelor party. Do you pack your own chute and are active base jumper? Cool, list it. As with anything else on your résumé, be prepared to hold a conversation about what you list here.
Don’t waste the space. It’s a given that you will be able to provide references. I’ll cover references in a future post.
You don’t need to, but oftentimes it’s possible. If you have been at one firm since graduation and you are a manager or below, I don’t see the need to for two pages. If you are looking to move to your third company, chances are you a
Do not be afraid of white space. Starting with 1” margins all around give you a strong foundation. If you need to adjust the bottom to .75” in order to fit onto one page, so be it. Try to avoid a résumé that has .25” spacing or less for margins – often times it will not print correctly, plus things just look too crammed at that point.
I suggest converting your Word version into a PDF. This removes all risk in the formatting changing when the employer opens it on their end.
If you try to update your résumé every quarter but only do so every six months, you’re still ahead of the game. The more often you can, the better.