Every once in a while someone asks, “Do I always need a resume?” The reason they wonder is because there are many other ways that your information gets to potential employers. Between online profiles, electronic applications, and your personal website, there could be a point when resumes are no longer required, right?
Most of the time a resume is going to be the only way you stand out from the crowd to a potential employer. Many times you will be asked to bring a copy of your resume to an interview because that paper resume is going to be passed around in hiring discussions. Your resume is your chance to customize your sales pitch to the specific job description and give an impression that goes beyond the template of electronic data input. It’s true that there will be an occasional exception. When NOT to use a resume is a matter of knowing exactly why that resume is not needed.
A resume will not be needed if the company specifically tells you they don’t want one. Or, maybe you won’t need a resume if you are working for someone who knows you very well.
But here’s the reason it’s good to have a resume, even if a potential employer doesn’t want one: Your resume has all your information condensed into one place. This comes in handy when you are filling out the forms they are using instead of a resume. It’s just a lot easier to have your work history and dates written down instead of trying to accurately recall your hiring date for the job you had five years ago. I think you will always need a resume when you come in for an interview, even if you don’t give it to anyone.
When you are writing a resume you are in the mindset of showing yourself off and you want to make sure that your potential employers know all the impressive things about you that can get you the job. Unfortunately, adding all those impressive skills, experiences, and accomplishments could fill up your resume with too much information and make it uninteresting to your potential employers. So how do you know if you have too much information? Here are some ways to tell if you have too much information and help you fix your resume so it doesn’t have too much information.
- Does your resume read like a letter? If your resume has commentary that adds interesting information making it read like a letter, then you have gone in the wrong direction with your resume and you need to edit so that your resume doesn’t have that extra commentary. If you feel the commentary is necessary, then add it to your cover letter.
- Does your resume go longer than three pages? If your resume is longer than three pages, you may have too much information. For technical resumes or even some senior executive resumes, it may be more acceptable, but for the typical professional or executive 2 or even 3 pages is best. The reader doesn’t want to browse through your novel to get to the good stuff. Keep it clean, concise, relevant, and focused.
- Does your resume give skills, experiences, or accomplishments that do not apply to the job? If they don’t apply to the job description, leave them out. There is no reason to have things on your resume that won’t help you get the job. So edit them out and get back to the things that are applicable and impressive for the job.
These tips will help you edit your resume so you have the right amount of impressive information to get you to the interview– and hopefully the job!