What is the Right Length for My Resume?

You’ve read different online recommendations, you’ve read through your friend’s one-page resume, and scanned your colleague’s three-page resume. Next, it’s time to write your resume. And, you start to wonder…how long should my resume be? Is there a ‘right’ length? How long is too long? Or, is it an absolute necessity to have a one-page document?

This is one of the most common questions that I receive from my clients. And, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all response. I’ve seen it all—I’ve received less than one paragraph from a client and I’ve received an eight-page document that outlines all jobs from 1975 through today. Neither of those works for today’s job market. So, here’s the advice I give to my clients and several guidelines that can be used as you put together your own resume.

Tip #1 – Be concise. Don’t think that a two-page document means that you are a better candidate or that outlining your job history for the last 30 years is the right way to accomplish this task. Instead, think about what is important to the potential employer and how you can get the point across in a clear and concise manner.

Tip #2 – Think one page per 10 years of experience. If you have worked for 20+ years, it’s crazy to think that you can highlight your skill-sets and work history within one page. Or, if you have a lot of community engagement that may be important to the job opportunity and need to point it out, then do it. A two-page document is fine for those that have a great deal of work history.

Tip #3 – Three pages and more is only okay if you are in education or medical professions. Sometimes people think that longer is better and makes them appear more important—it doesn’t. In the field of education (i.e. college professor) or medical professions (i.e. doctor), a CV is often required and can be three pages or beyond. These documents call for publications listings, internships, presentations, and even more. If you aren’t in one of these fields, then avoid anything longer than a two-page resume.

Tip #4 – Don’t include irrelevant information. Did you letter in a sport during high school? Was that 25 years ago? Or, were you the 4-H club president in 1985? Here’s a hint: no one cares. I know that sound harsh, but it’s the truth. If it’s not relevant—leave it off the resume.

Tip #5 – Don’t include long blocks of information. Whether your resume is one page or two pages, keep in mind that most people don’t like to read long paragraphs of information. Instead, include concise and targeted bullet points—they can even be phrases and not complete sentences. My recommendation is not to create a bullet point that is longer than two lines.

Still don’t know exactly which information should and should not be included in your new resume? We can help! Click here to contact us today – we offer free resume reviews!

Check out these other offerings that can help you…

Free Download: Cover Letter Tips Checklist That Gets INTERVIEWS! Click HERE!

Free Resume Download: TOP 5 Resume Tips to GET THE INTERVIEW in Today’s Competitive Job Market. Click HERE!

Managing Employment Gaps on Your Resume

Twenty or thirty years ago, large gaps in employment were more of a rarity and caught the attention (not in a good way) of interviewers, recruiters, and potential employers. In today’s economy, employment gaps are much more commonplace; however, they can still be treated with suspicion and a feeling of mistrust. Through no fault of your own, you may have gaps in employment history. A company may have laid off its newest employees, the organization may have moved, or the entire workforce may have been alleviated of their duties.

Tip #1 – Add in your unpaid work history. When you have the heading Professional History on your resume, it doesn’t mean that all of it must be paid. In fact, many of us have relevant expertise gained through volunteerism, internships, and community engagement activities. If you volunteered during an employment gap, then put this information in your professional history. In additional to adding to your skill-set, it also shows that you weren’t sitting around at home during your time away from the paid workforce.

Tip #2 – Use years only for the dates. If you have only a three-month or six-month gap in your employment, then you can simply list your years of employment and this minimizes the time gap. However, if you choose to go this route, then be sure that you list all of the dates in years only—be consistent throughout the document.

Tip #3 – Group freelance work or temp agency work together. Many people work through an employment agency when they are having difficulties finding full-time work. Instead of listing a three-month stint at this company and a two-month tenure at another company while with the temp agency, simply list the entire timeline while working for the temp agency.

Remember—you are not alone—there are many candidates with gaps in employment history. It is the perception of these gaps that will make the difference between being called for an interview and having your resume moved to the ‘no’ pile. Rather than ‘hiding’ your gaps, be sure to identify why you are the right candidate for the position, highlight your skill-set, and align your document with the job posting.

If you still have questions regarding creating your new resume, contact us today. Or, if you are curious how your resume stacks up against the competition, email Dr. Heather for a free resume critique!

Click HERE to download our FREE Top 5 Resume Tips to GET THE INTERVIEW!

Is a Professional Resume Writer Worth It?

Sometimes, I will hear people say, “I can’t believe that you write resumes for a living. Don’t most people just write their own?” And, my answer is that, yes, many people choose to write their own resumes. However, did you also know that many people have difficulty writing and speaking positively about themselves? Please see below for the top three reasons why you should consider hiring a professional resume writer.

#1 – They will be able to extract information that you hadn’t even considered. A good resume writer knows how to ask questions, use the proper key words, and dig a little deeper to find the accomplishments at your past positions.

#2 – A professional resume writer is up-to-date on formats, technologies, and industry buzz words. Did you know that you should no longer use an objective on your resume? And, no one should use the word “I” within the document. If you aren’t sure what today’s trends are for resume writing, you may want to consider hiring a professional resume writer.

#3 – How much money are you losing while you sit and stare at your old resume? Figure out how much money it is costing you each day to not get started on your new, updated, and forward-thinking document. While hiring a professional resume writer may cost dollars up front, you will quickly find that the investment is worth it when you land your new job.

The bottom line is this—decide if you really have the time, know-how, and desire to craft your own resume. If not, this may be the time to hire out the process. And, if you want a resume writer that has gone through additional education, please be sure to hire a Certified Professional Resume Writer.

Questions about the resume writing process? If so, please contact us at Feather Communications. And, remember that we ALWAYS offer free resume critiques – find out if your document is up-to-par with your competition. We look forward to hearing from you!

Get Your Resume Ready for the New Year

Are you ready for the New Year? Have you made your New Year’s resolutions? Did one of them include landing a new job in your 2015 future? If so, now is the perfect time to gather your information and ensure it is updated if and when you decide to move forward with your job search.

First, if you haven’t been organized in the past, now is the time. Ensure you have backups of your resume in several places. Save it on your computer hard drive as well as on an externally-stored flash drive or hard drive. In addition, print out a hard copy and keep it in a file.

Next, obtain copies of your college transcripts. While you may not need these for each position, they are required for certain fields and specific organizations. It can take several days or weeks to get these in the future, so be sure to order them now. If they are sent in an envelope, don’t open them as they won’t be considered ‘official transcripts.’ If needed, ask for a second copy that you can keep on-hand for future reference.

Third, keep a running list of all professional organizations to which you belong, along with committees and volunteerism. These can be critical to showcasing community involvement and extracurricular activities. Employers are consistently seeking candidates that go above-and-beyond the call of duty at work and are immersed in outside organizations.

Finally, keep all of your information in a safe and labeled location. When working with my resume clients, I can’t tell you how often they come to me and need a refreshed resume within a few days. By keeping organized and getting ready for the New Year, you will have the information you need to move forward.

And, if you are interested in working with a Certified Professional Resume Writer, I would love to work with you. I’ve helped hundreds of clients with their resumes and cover letters.  Please feel free to contact me today!

P.S. If you are interested, I also offer a free resume review. That’s right–free! Email your resume to me and I will offer you constructive feedback on how to improve it–send yours today!

Feather Communications Owner Receives Polka Dot Powerhouse Award

On Saturday, October 25, Dr. Heather Rothbauer-Wanish, owner of Feather Communications, received the “Extraordinary Business Woman of the Year Award” for the Eau Claire Chapter of Polka Dot Powerhouse. Polka Dot Powerhouse is a rapidly-growing, unique, and refreshing community for women’s business and personal networking.

Heather has been involved with Polka Dot Powerhouse for over two years and truly enjoys the camaraderie, business relationships, and friendships that have blossomed since joining this group. Furthermore, she enjoys the opportunities of being able to visit various Polka Dot Powerhouse chapters throughout the area.

“Being elected to receive this award means the world to me. There are so many amazing business women in this organization and to be voted on by my peers is humbling,” Heather said. “I’m excited to continue my journey with Polka Dot Powerhouse and look forward to the continuous opportunities it offers in both my personal and professional lives,” she concluded.

For more information about Feather Communications services, please contact us today!

Writing an Effective Bio

Recently, I have received numerous client requests for written bios. Many times, these are needed for websites, speaking engagements, or workshop proposals. While you may be tempted to include everything, you need to remember that it your target audience that counts. Think of the bio from their point-of-view and only include the necessary information.

Here are my top ten tips for writing an effective bio:

  1. Identify your purpose. Are you speaking at an event? Who will be reading the information?
  2. Utilize the third person perspective. Using this approach makes the information sound more objective. I tell clients to think of the back of a book jacket – consider what you would read about the author.
  3. Shorter is better. Impressive people have short bios. More importantly, people have short attention spans. Capitalize on your most important information first and get to the point.
  4. Have length options. Your bio may be requested in different lengths. Keep a running document of a short bio, a medium bio (about a paragraph in length), and a long bio (up to one page in length).
  5. Invert your pyramid. Put the most important information first. If someone quits reading your bio, what do you want them to know about you for sure?
  6. Start with your name. Although this may seem obvious, it is important for people to correlate your information with your name. For example, my bio begins, “Heather Rothbauer-Wanish founded Feather Communications in 2008…”
  7. Add some personality. Readers want to know YOU as the person. If appropriate, add some humor and a memorable fact so that the readers recognize you and your information.
  8. Don’t include everything. You can’t be everything to everyone. And, you simply can’t put all of your information into your bio. Include the information that is pertinent to your audience.
  9. Contact information. End your bio with your contact information (if appropriate). You want to make it as convenient as possible for someone to contact you.
  10. Read and rewrite. Your bio is ever-evolving. Ask a trusted friend or colleague to review and proofread your information. Review your bio on a regular basis – this will save you time in the long-term.

Finally, if you have tried to write an effective bio and it just isn’t working, please contact Feather Communications today at 715-559-6378 or heather@feather-communications.com. We love working with clients and making their information shine!