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During the "Your Resume Stinks" podcast it was recommended to have no longer than a 1-page resume. However, it was also recommended to read Rites of Passage at $100,000 to $1 Million by John Lucht. In his book, John recommends a completely different strategy for formatting a resume. In short, he recommends lenghtly 3 - 6 pages of impressive material. This has left me wondering which is appropriate. I would appreciate further insight.

Thanks!

pmoriarty's picture

This has been asked a couple of times before. In short, if you are applying for a C-level, EVP, SVP, VP position (i.e, a true executive position), then following Lucht may be OK. Everybody else should stick to 1 page.

Personally, I wouldn't dream of going near 6 pages in length (Lucht assumes that you can write very compelling prose). Prior to editing my resume down to a 1-pager, I was quite happy with representing my 20+ yr IT career on two pages that had lots of formatting and white space.

vinnie2k's picture

I must say I was not impressed with the crammed up 1 pager that can be found on MT as a model. Too hard to read, nothing jumps at you, lengthy sentences... Yuk! :-)

One thing I read is that you should have two resumes: 1 really short, 1 or 2 pages max, and then a more complete one with photocopies of diplomas, certifications, recommendations, etc. that you leave behind after an interview.

pmoriarty's picture

Vinnie,

What's the purpose of the leave-behind? In my experience, after having interviewed you and debriefed with the rest of the interview team, I've already decided to hire/pass. Anything you leave behind is unlikely to influence my decision.

I agree that the 1-pager that is up in the examples is pretty primitive, but I'd also say for a general management role, I'd interview the guy.

My 1-pager has a bit more formatting & polish (all Times New Roman with some bold & underlining). I'm 3 for 3 at getting interviews for a C-level role using the 1-page resume. Would my 2-pager have worked? Maybe.

If you're getting all the interviews you want at all the companies you want to work for, then don't change a thing about your current resume. However, if you're looking for a new edge/angle/approach, then what have you got to lose?

vinnie2k's picture

The purpose of the leave behind is to give reference material to the hiring manger and HR, and a physical trace of my brief time there :-)

As for the 2 page versus 1 page, yeah, maybe formatting would improve it. What would really make it better is shorter, to the point, sentences.

wendii's picture

Hi Vinne,

I can tell you as a corporate recruiter, I take very little notice of anything a candidate gives me apart from the paperwork I want.

We have to fact check qualifications as a legal requirement so we'll have confirmations from universities and exam boards anyway. If they're photocopies and I havn't copied them, then they're not considered proof of anything.

References on headed notepaper go the same way - because you could have stolen the notepaper and written the reference yourself, we take no notice of them. Unless we check the facts ourself, they mean nothing.

Wendii

vinnie2k's picture

[quote="wendii"]Hi Vinne,

I can tell you as a corporate recruiter, I take very little notice of anything a candidate gives me apart from the paperwork I want.

We have to fact check qualifications as a legal requirement so we'll have confirmations from universities and exam boards anyway. If they're photocopies and I havn't copied them, then they're not considered proof of anything.

References on headed notepaper go the same way - because you could have stolen the notepaper and written the reference yourself, we take no notice of them. Unless we check the facts ourself, they mean nothing.

Wendii[/quote]
That's true for the US, but not necessarily around the world. In fact, just recently, 2 recruiters asked me to pass them copies of my certificates.

pmoriarty's picture

I'm pretty sure that Wendii is UK-based, not US-based.

vinnie2k's picture

[quote="pmoriarty"]I'm pretty sure that Wendii is UK-based, not US-based.[/quote]
Right.

But as someone else posted on this forum, work laws in the UK seem closer to those in the US than those of continental Europe.

wendii's picture

Vinnie, of course different recruiters do different things, and as I said in my post our company has a legal requirement to check ourselves, as we do work for the government. However, that was my training before I arrived here too.

Yes, I'm the UK.

As part of the EU any law which is created in Europe has to be implemented in the UK. For instance we just implemented age discrimination law which is an application of a European Law on discrimination.

The only European Law that the UK doesn't currently abide by is the Working Time directive for which we have an opt-out.

Going off topic some....I'd hate to have american employment law over here! As far as I understand it, you can still discriminate on age and sexual orientation in recruitment. We have a minimum of 20 days holiday a year, and next year that will include a statutary right to bank holidays which means we'll get 28 days minimum. You get 12 weeks maternity leave and we get up to 52. I'm sure there's some great things about working in America, but none of those are on my list!

Wendii

vinnie2k's picture

[quote="wendii"]I'm sure there's some great things about working in America, but none of those are on my list!

Wendii[/quote]
I'm an expatriate (on a local contract). I'm actually Swiss and Italian, so yes, Europe is better for holidays and general work conditions :-)

wendii's picture

Vinnie, ah yes, to be in Italy with 20-30 days plus 12 public holidays!

Paul pointed out to me in private (thank you) that my understanding of american labour law is incorrect. I apologise for my ignorance and will do more research before I making sweeping statements in future.

Wendii

juliahhavener's picture

Hrm, sexual orientation is still not protected by law in most areas. Many companies, and some areas of the country have added this protection, but there is no federal statute.

pmoriarty's picture

My mistake in confusing the executive order order preventing discrimination in the federal gov't with a federal regulation.

The bottom line is this: Most "progressive" (or lawsuit averse) companies focus the hire decision solely on your ability to do the job. Every interviewing training I have been through stresses that one should only ask questions directly related to the the candidate's ability to do the job. (For those of you who delight in pointing out the corner cases, yes, you can game that system, but I expect that you can game it outside the US as well).

juliahhavener's picture

I'm simply pointing out the area I have a good deal of experience with (since I live with it daily). Executive Order 13087 only addresses employees within the Executive Banch civilian employment. I'd not argue if it extended to the military and other areas of U.S. government.

pmoriarty's picture

Well, no... the military has the ridiculous "Don't Ask, Don't Tell"

juliahhavener's picture

It is what it is. Don't ask don't tell isn't a provision for fairness in hiring and promotion practices within the military...and service members are still dishonorably discharged because of their sexuality. I've enjoyed working for companies for 10 years now that have codified non-discrimination to include sexual orientation...and stood by it.

Mark's picture

Vinnie-

Diplomas? WOW.

One pagers are the standard, and virtually every resume I've seen that's longer is larded with unnecessary info.

I get resumes every day. You better make your point in one page, or it won't get heard.

Mark

asteriskrntt1's picture

Back to the original poster's question... Different recruiters want different things. Now I don't consider myself very senior, altho the postings I apply for are generally a seniorish manager/director of marketing type role.

(A quick tangent for our non-North American viewers - Director here is not the same as Director off our continent. Here, a director often reports to an Assistant Vice President or General Manager, who reports to a VP, then possibly to a Senior VP, then to an Executive VP etc, depending on the org structure of the company and its size.)

In a phone interview yesterday, I asked the recruiter what she wanted me to bring. She asked for physical copies of my resume and professional development. I asked her preference for the resume, one or two pages.

She responded that at my level (and again, I don't think I am so senior that I have a "my level"), she would be shocked if I only had a one-pager. Definitely bring a two-pager. So I guess from a marketing perspective, know your audience and ask where appropriate.

*RNTT

mptully's picture

[quote="asteriskrntt1"]So I guess from a marketing perspective, know your audience and ask where appropriate.

*RNTT[/quote]

I have really enjoyed listening to the podcasts and reading the discussions about CVs/resumes, but the one page CV is not an absolute standard outside the business world. Within academia, certainly in the UK, each university has their own standard by which you are expected to [i]display [/i]your CV (for promotion purposes etc), but the content would be standard and it is expected to be loooooong. I hesitate to say this, Mark/Mike, but mine is currently coming in at 31 pages (I will go away and hide now!), as I have to include explicit details of my publications, grants, teaching, awards, and then write oen or two pages of prose on where I am taking my work for the future.

I do have one and two page versions, for applying for grants (so the funding body will know whether you are likely to be able to deliver what you are promising), but I would never give those out to people if they were offering me a job or a promotion. They would get the full article!

Mary

Mark's picture

Point well taken, Mary.

I've been on academic boards... no one is reading those 31 pages, just so you know. BUT that doesn't mean you can't have it. All processes have associated forms, and this is just one of them.

Isn't diversity grand?

Mark

mptully's picture

[quote="mahorstman"]no one is reading those 31 pages, just so you know. BUT that doesn't mean you can't have it. All processes have associated forms, and this is just one of them.

Isn't diversity grand?

Mark[/quote]

I am on our promotions board and I dont even read them myself!

But you go through them looking for evidence of specific points, such as 'international standing' or 'vitality' (i.e. your consistency in writing papers in good journals or winning grants) or 'upwards trajectory'.

For external canditates who apply, the CV is used to assess 'appointability' i.e. unless you clearly demonstrate your calibre as someone who this univeristy [i]could [/i]appoint as, say, a professor, then you do not even get an interview. Your CV is your list of how you have [i]explicitly [/i]met the stringent metrics that is used for such a judgement.

Is it any wonder that we hardly ever appoint new academics/faculty?!

Mary

US41's picture

I was dubious of the MT one-pager. I am now properly impressed.

I just went through 40 interviews in person to find the right candidate. To get to those 40 people, I sifted through over 100 resumes.

It wasn't too many days into this two month long process to hire our next two team members that I found myself hating any resume that was longer than one page. When I did stumble across a one-pager, it was like finding gold. It had accomplishments after short job descriptions instead of long job descriptions with no accomplishments. It was easy to handle, and I could consume it by sweeping my eyes across the sheet quickly.

I think I now understand the power of the one-page resume. It's like a silver bullet when your resume is surrounded with poofy, fluffed-up BS-o-grams.

juliahhavener's picture

[quote="US41"]It's like a silver bullet when your resume is surrounded with poofy, fluffed-up BS-o-grams.[/quote]

That does tend to hit the nail on the head, doesn't it?

Mark's picture

I feel like an actor in a Guinness commercial.

BRILLIANT! BRILLIANT!

Mark

PS: Question for everyone. For a given job, if you had 100 resumes on your desk, how long would it take YOU to go through those resumes? Assume that these 100 are just like any other 100 you would get for any job at your firm. If you think it's relevant, let us know if the 100 would normally be screened by someone, or if the raw pile would come right to you. And, let us know when you do it, how many at a time you get through, if you look at them as they come in, etc.

THIS is going to be INTERESTING. - H

US41's picture

Normally when I get 100 resumes, they are supposedly screened, however they come from various vendors that our company allows as "preferred contracting agencies."

So, I write up a job description in an online tool, and all of those vendors are auto-magically notified of the job posting, and they start sending me candidates.

Some of them screen rather well. Some of them do not.

I go through reading those resumes on my screen for the most part. It takes me about an hour to go through resumes and clickity click in the online tool either scheduling interviews or pushing the reject button at the end of the day before I go home.

I usually go through ten or eleven per day while a job is posted. The online tool slows me down a lot.

Getting what I call a BS-o-gram slows me down more. Some contracting companies re-write resumes for their folks and put a bunch of nonsense in there that has nothing to do with current job description and accomplishments. My eyes cross as I get half-way through long paragraphs with nonsensical resume language in them. "Opened up new opportunities for marketing by participating in weekly meetings on such and such." Blech.

terrih's picture

100 resumes? :shock:

I need to start pestering our HR employment manager. He says he's got some resumes to pass along but he can't quite seem to get around to it. I have NO IDEA how many. He may be screening them too tightly, even though I told him that if he's not sure about one, I'd rather see it than not see it.

So, screened, but I've never gotten 100 resumes. So far I have 1 for one position, and 1 for the other position. :shock:

Terri

terrih's picture

I LOVE that term "BS-o-gram"!

And I'm really glad to have heard the "Your Resume Stinks" podcast... I got a "professional resume writer" to do mine about a year ago, and she produced a BS-o-gram. I'm in the process of massive revision.

Fortunately she didn't charge me--she's a friend, and isn't actually in the resume business any more.

Terri

ccleveland's picture

Of the few hirings I've been involved in the last two years, I only see 3-4 resumes per position. These are "pre-screened". I typically take extra time because of the small number, at most 5 minutes.

A few years ago, I had to hire about 60 technical contractors for a 1-2 year project. I have no idea how many resumes I saw, but it was well into the hundreds. The resumes we got were "pre-screened" by the contracting agencies; however, quality varied a lot. At the time we were looking a basic yet specific skill/experience set. Generally, I'd do a quick scan (<30 seconds per resume) and if met basic requirements I'd look at it a little longer. Usually, I could determine that I'd want to interview someone within 2-3 minutes.

With the benefit of hind-sight and training, I would now look for different charactersitics if going through the large numbers of resumes...but the time probably wouldn't change much.

CC

juliahhavener's picture

I get mine pre-screened and after an initial interview. Because of that, I spend more time with the resume (since it's in preparation for a second/final interview).

Based on the ones I *have* dealt with, I could probably review a pile in a minute or less for the information I think is relevant to the position. I think a BS-o-gram just makes it harder to tell if that person is worth interviewing.

wendii's picture

Terri,

it might be a function of skills.. I don't know about over there, but over here.. someone who is any good in tech pubs is rarer than a very rare thing.

I'd say 90% of CVs I see for tech pubs are secretaries who have been asked to pull together a document a time or two, and although that can be the start of a career, it's not where a good tech pubs person is.

However, given that when screening CVs you'll probably be on a minumum 2:1 ratio (screen 2: interview 1) you need more than 1 CV. You do need to talk to HR & find out what the problem is!

Wendii

rthibode's picture

I hire about 10-20 people each summer. They are for the same role but different positions (attached to a specific area). I get 20-30 applications for most positions, sometimes up to 50.

These are part-time jobs, not posted through HR. My admin doesn't exactly screen them (as in weeding out). I have her process them by filling in a grid that summarizes the candidates' qualifications. In the same grid, I score the cover letters and note any relevant experience. The grid provides a quick way to compare candidates and choose interviewees.

I only receive the file once the deadline has passed and my admin has processed all the applications.

Using the grid, it takes me no time at all to reject the ones who aren't qualified (roughly 20% of applicants). The rest I read -- about 2 minutes each for letter and resume. I spend a bit longer winnowing it down if I have too many good people to interview.

pmoriarty's picture

I prefer the "raw intelligence" of not having somebody pre-screen resumes. Yes, it means seeing many more clunkers, but occasionally I see somebody with a skill set that isn't a perfect fit but would be a good fit for another role I'm planning to open in the future.

As for running through 100 resumes, on a first pass, probably no more than 30 minutes. Then a second pass on the keepers from the first pass, where I'll actually read the whole resume. After that I usually end up with 0-5 that will actually get a screening interview to start the process.