The last time I redesigned (not updated) my resume was 2009. Since then, my understanding of ease-of-use, information architecture & win-loss has grown several fold. Late last year I realized that my resume looks archaic and needs a revamp.
The need was to create something that was:
- information rich yet not cluttered
- comprehensible yet not funky
- likely to get past through the recruiter’s clutter.
Several opinions & tweaks later, I finally published a release candidate that I wanted to share. Yes, sharing definitely looses the competitive advantage at a PM opening, but what use is creativity that’s kept to yourself. I hope this bit on the design rationale helps all.
The importance of Page 1
It’s a no-brainer how crucial the first page is to recruiters, considering their daily swim in the resume swarm. The key was to summarize everything that mattered to them on Page 1, while deferring details to following pages. More importantly, it also acts as a printable summary to save some paper.
7 items that qualify for Page 1
- Objective: Instead of something that over-promises & sounds rubbish, I jotted down my goal and acceptance criteria for a job opportunity.
- Photo: Not Facebook stuff with friends at a fancy location, but a close-up with clear background (like you’d use for a visa) to help the recruiter visualize who they’re talking to.
- Skills: Don’t use this to mention the courses you took at college. If C++ skills don’t matter to your target profile, drop it. If possible, group skills by functional area and highlight them on a side-bar.
- Experience: Summarize experience through top projects, career keywords & key responsibilities at the last couple of jobs (I only have 2 so far), with total years in the side-bar.
- Education: High-school & college grades never seem to be ignored and must get a mention.
- About Me: This section need not be as long as it used to be on your freshman resume, but use it to reflect your attitude rather than just talk about hobbies. Everyone knows what 28/M/Married means 🙂
- Footer: One cannot over-emphasize real estate in 2014: I used the footer to create a call-to-action by using it for my contact information
Don’t forget the ‘minified’ version!
Realize that everyone is mobile these days, and if not for head-hunters, the decision makers of a senior profile surely are going to read this on their iPads or Blackberries. Moreover, LinkedIn puts a 200 Kb limit when attaching a CV to a job application. That brought to me the idea of ‘minify-ing’ my CV with a link to download the more detailed version.
With a great resume, you’re 25% through to your next job. Next up is identifying what the right opportunity. Read about the top 8 factors that will shape your long-term career.