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Getting a job is never easy. While the interview process may be the most nerve-wracking, you won’t get invited in without an effective resume. In essence a resume is your calling card. It’s your first contact with a potential employer. And, outside of networking, it’s one of the best ways to get your foot in the door.
An effective resume is an essential part of every job search.
But creating an effective resume often is elusive. What’s the right length? Should you hire a professional? How do you know which professional actually can help you?
To find out the answers to these questions I contacted Donna Svei, AvidCareerist, a professional resume writer and job-search blogger I “met” several months ago on Twitter. Happily she agreed to share the expertise she’s gathered from over 20 years of recruiting experience.
CI: What is the biggest mistake people make on their resumes?
DS: Not paying enough attention to formatting. In a world where the on-line user experience is managed by professionals, your resume must provide a great user experience in terms of ease of use.
CI: There seems to be a lot of disagreement on length, what is right length for a resume? One page? Two pages?
DS: One or two pages. People don’t have time to read more. Plus, including more signals weak communication skills, particularly an inability to identify and convey only essential information.
CI: How many years of employment should people include? I’ve heard the rule of thumb is no more than 10 years.
DS: Ten years is usually enough.
CI: When should someone hire a professional resume writer? How can he or she help?
DS: Almost always. Most importantly, a professional resume writer helps people identify and present their accomplishments and results.
CI:There are so many resume writers out there today, how should someone go about choosing a professional?
DS: Make sure that they have personally made thousands of interviewing decisions. Ask to see samples of their work. Be wary of certifications. Examine the certifying organization, its Board of Directors, and its standards before you give any credence to a certification.
CI: Is there anything you’d like to add?
DS: Your resume and your LinkedIn and Google+ profiles represent you 24/7/365. Make sure you that you have each of these personal marketing documents and that they’re optimized!
Donna Svei is one of Monster’s 11 for 2011: Career Experts Who Can Help Your Job Search. She’s professional resume writer and job-search strategist who blogs about career at AvidCareerist.