Helpful Resume Hints
If your resume is out of date or you’re doing one for the first time, it can be difficult to know where to begin. There are lots of sources for advice about your resume. Here’s what we suggest, however, from years of experience in BV and Lit Support recruitment.
Summary and keywords?
A Summary can be useful for translating BV/LS experience into language more familiar to a non-BV/LS employer. If you’re applying for BV/LS jobs, though, a Summary can contribute to resume bloat and be an impediment to the reader who simply wants to know about your work experience. Keywords can be useful when submitting your resume to a large organization with a sophisticated Applicant Tracking System. The majority of BV and Lit Support practices are small businesses where keywords won’t have as much value. Be sensitive to the size and nature of the organization where you are applying and make your decisions accordingly.
Paragraphs or bullet points?
There’s no right answer. Even if your resume doesn’t use complete sentences (most don’t), paragraphs have an even flow and are generally what the eye is accustomed to reading. Alternatively, bullet points add punch and can be especially hard-hitting in communicating successes or accomplishments. We suggest trying both ways to see what ‘feels’ better for you.
Month/Year or Year-Only for time on job?
We strongly recommend the Month/Year format. The Year-Only format came into vogue as a way to hide employment gaps that were the result of the recession. Resume readers saw this and began to assume that anyone who used the Year-Only format had something to hide. You don’t need to put yourself under that cloud. If there are gaps, you’ll have the opportunity to explain them during an interview. Another option is to include a brief explanation of the gap as the final sentence (or bullet point) in an employment segment. [EXCEPTION: The Year-Only format is okay for employment segments that are more than ten years in the past and are unrelated (or barely-related) to your current BV/LS experience.]
Why not a CV or company bio?
We know it would make life easier for you to use one of these. However, a potential employer has questions about when you graduated from college; where you worked; when you started and when you left to take your next position. CV’s and company bios are designed to answer questions from potential clients about why they should hire you for a particular engagement. Different questioners with different questions require a different approach. A resume is best for answering an employer’s questions.
Myth of the one-page resume
You’ve probably read or heard that you should keep your resume to a single page. This advice is appropriate when your resume must help you get past a “gatekeeper” whose time is limited. When you work with us at Borrowman Baker, however, your resume is being reviewed directly by decision-makers. It’s more important, then, to showcase the full range of your experience. If that takes more than a page, then take more than a page.
Impact, not a to-do list
You are being hired for the impact you can make, not merely for the things you can do. When you write your resume, therefore, focus on the impact or results of what you have done. Use actual metrics whenever you can. When your resume tells a story of the impact you have made, it makes you stand out from the crowd.