I often see resumes in my job, or look them over for friends. Here’s my general advice. Of course this is all my opinion (especially about style of a resume), and I’m sure there are other valid approaches out there.
- The shorter the better
* look at every word and phrase and see if it is adding anything to the story * if an item was covered in a more recent job, leave it out unless it has a unique point to make
- Be results-oriented. Don’t describe the initiative, give details of what the return to the business was. NO: “Led restructuring of Accounts Receivable process, redefining roles and eliminating unnecessary process steps.” YES: “Restructured Accounts Receivable for a 50% reduction in payment processing time with 15% less staff.”
- If something was hard, make sure it is clear why it was hard. Was it contentious? Was it technically challenging? Did you do it while budgets were being cut? etc.
- Anything more than 10-15 years old has limited value and should be really short
* it is good to have the company name in case a reader knows someone there * leave in enough to show continuity of work and career growth * anything that's unique compared to the rest of your career gets more room (e.g. you worked in another industry)
- Leave out business buzz words (e.g. “synergy”, “re-engineer”)
- Non-work experience can be highly valuable. Many people do things I find very impressive, such as run for public office, be a leader in the business of their church, serve in the National Guard, etc. Especially for people in big companies, outside activities can show start-up spirit and hands on leadership that is hard to project from a description of one’s day job. (Just make sure it doesn’t look like you’re all about your hobby and don’t show up to the office very often!)
- I like a couple of personal notes. Not everyone does, but I find they add depth to a person, and often gives me something to make a personal connection with in an interview. “You do triathlons?” “What type of photography do you do?”