Your resume is the primary vehicle used to introduce yourself to a hiring manager. It needs to be professional, up to date, easy to understand, and must contain NO spelling errors. The TENSE of the resume is ALWAYS third person. The FORMAT should allow the screener/hiring manager to recognize where you have worked, when you worked there, what you did, what you accomplished, and why you left each one of your jobs. The BEST resume utilizes a varieties of FONT, bold lettering, and margins so as to showcase your employment history.
Few of us have the “ideal” employment history. The PERFECT candidate has
a. NOT had too many jobs– In 15 years, for example, the ideal candidate has worked for NO MORE than 3 companies! The IDEAL candidate has been able to stay put for AT LEAST 3-5 yrs per job.
b. been employed in ever-increasing roles of responsibility. To go from a District or Division Sales manager, for example, to a territory account manager is not the ideal progression…..but life happens!
c. at least a 4 yr. college education
d. accomplished significant contributions to their job wherever they were employed– they increase sales, saved money, improved profitability, reduced turnover, or optimized the effectiveness of the organization.
Dates are very important. Your resume MUST show the dates of where you have been employed, from College forward. Some resume services encourage “senior” level professionals to only go back 10 or 15 years….I discourage this. In the Agricultural and Green industry in particular, a considerable MAJORITY of the workforce is between 50 and 65 yrs. of age, believe it or not. You need not be concerned, therefore, that age is a discriminating factor. You are who you are.
If your resume is not ideal (and few are!), and your professional employment history is less than ideal, then your resume and in particular, your cover letter, needs to explain why, and what happened. If you have had a succession of short tenures, for example, then you need to explain what happened at the end of the job entry. If you fail to do this the screener or hiring manager only ASSUMES that you were let go due to performance. All of us go thru seasons in our lives where we relocate, find ourselves in struggling business segments, work for family run businesses, or even go thru health, family, or mid-life episodes. The COVER letter can and should explain this.
Each of your job entries MUST include, at the very LEAST, What company you worked for; What title did you hold, what the dates of employment were; and what you accomplished working in this capacity.
Regarding how LONG the resume ought to be, unless you are a PhD, I encourage all professionals to stick to no more than two pages! Three pages is pushing it, and one page rarely is enough. FOUR pages is NOT acceptable.
I hope this helps you! If you want a professional opinion about YOUR resume, email me and I am more than happy to review it and help you, no charge.
Good luck with your job search!