Your resume should easily answer these 5 questions.
WHO ARE YOU?
Your resume should show the interviewer very quickly a snapshot of your career, what you’re good at, and what you’re looking to get out of your next role. This can be accomplished in a number of different ways, including by having a clear objective, formatting your resume to either highlight your relevant skill sets if you’re changing careers or showcasing the skills you possess to do the next position, or show a consistent theme of achievement throughout your career. If you can’t show a consistent theme of achievement at the very least, you need to clearly have a strong narrative on why you’re switching positions and are qualified to do the job.
WHAT DO YOU DO ?
The first position on your resume, under your objective if you have one, needs to illustrate your latest position or skill set that’s most relevant to the job you seek. The interviewer or recruiter needs to clearly see why you’re interested in this position and what are your most relevant skill sets for it. Hiring managers are biased towards relevancy, so even if you only have a few relevant skills in your most recent position, you need to illustrate them as thoroughly and concisely as possible.
WHEN DID YOU START DOING WHAT YOU’RE DOING?
Hiring managers also has a bias towards experience, so your resume should be clear that you show the relevant years of experience that the job requires. Even if you don’t explicitly state it, hiring managers can deduce this number from a number of locations on your resume, such as by looking at the date in which you graduated, the date in which your “earliest position” is listed on your resume, how long you’ve been on your most recent roles, etc.
Your resume is a marketing tool, so if you want to minimize someone passing you over for an interview just because you don’t check a box of number of years of experience, there are a few tricks you can do. If you feel you have too much experience for example, you can remove the date in which you’ve graduated, you can create a “functional resume” that downplays the amount of experience you have and highlights relevant skill sets, or you can leave off jobs from your resume that don’t fit the narrative that you want to tell, showcasing why you’re the right person for this new position. There’s no harm in any of these methods.
Remember, the number years of experience request is just a shorthand proxy to assess whether you can do the position. There are people who have lots of years of experience who can’t do a job as an efficiently as someone with fewer years of experience and vice versa.
WHERE ARE YOU FROM?
Some jobs are location dependent or want to hire locally, so an interview always looks at where your current address is, which should be very clear at the top of your resume. If you’re applying for a job out-of-state and you know you’re willing to move if you got hired, don’t be afraid to put an address of a friend or relative or even a PO Box of that city you want to apply for, so you don’t get unnecessarily passed over for an interview because an interviewer disqualified you since they assume you’re not local. Remember though, if you do get that interview, then you need to make immediate arrangements to drive or fly to the city so you can do it in person, if required.
Another trick, is that interviewers look at the locations of your previous jobs to see where you might be applying for. This isn’t always a bad thing, but if you’re applying for roles overseas, this could be something else that someone can ding you for as they would want someone within a particular country. A good rule of thumb for this scenario, is to create a functional resume, highlighting your skill sets and de-emphasizes the locations of your previous jobs. Remember, creating a resume is an art, not a science, and you need to market yourself in the best possible way.
WHY ARE YOU QUALIFIED FOR THIS POSITION?
Finally, your resume needs to clearly illustrate your qualifications for the position you seek. If you’re applying for multiple positions, your resume needs to be tailored enough to highlight your unique qualifications that are relevant to that specific position. This is hard and takes time, but it’s the best possible way to ensure that you maximize your chances of getting a call for an interview. A quick way to show your qualifications is in the objective section of your resume.
You also need to clearly highlight relevant skills sets in the rest of your resume. If this is hard to do since your skill sets are dispersed through a number of different positions, then creating a functional resume is the best way to do it.
Don’t forget that your resume is simply a marketing tool to get you in the door for an interview. You want to entice the hiring manager just enough that they’re intrigued to call you in for an interview. Once in the interview, you can sell yourself and address any concerns that the hiring manager has.