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Help and Advice for Candidates

Writing Your Resume

Your resume is a document that should, as closely as possible, describe you as a professional. The format should always be chronological and include all dates. Eliminating any dates will raise questions that may get you eliminated before you get a chance to interview. Resist the temptation to use borders, tables, or exotic symbols which can cause formatting problems for the recipient.

The finished document needs to pass two critical tests; the 30 second test and the two minute test. More often than not, when you send your resume to an employer or a recruiter, it will end up in a stack. The reader must be able to get a sense of you as a professional very quickly (30 seconds) or you will likely be discarded. Once you get the reader's attention, they must be able to get a full picture within two minutes. This is how you make the first cut.

Next you must focus on answering as many potential questions as possible to avoid making the reader research things like company location, size, number of employees, product and customer base. If you are a good resume fit and get a first interview, you don't want to waste any of your one hour interview answering questions that could just as easily be answered with a well written resume.

Brevity is a good thing. Always begin your resume with your full name, home address, phone numbers and email address. Summaries and objectives are redundant and should be considered optional sections. You should be able to get all of your experience on two pages. If you experience a problem with this, you are probably trying to provide too much information.

Following the name of the employer, city, state and inclusive dates, write a two-line description of the company that includes product, revenue, number of employees and to whom they sell their product. Under your title, use bulleted sentence fragments to describe your responsibilities and accomplishments. A one-line description of the technology employed/deployed/installed is helpful in many cases. Include the number and titles of people you supervised, if applicable. If you had more than one title at a company, provide the inclusive dates for each title and a description. When you have multiple titles in one company, be sure to use separate inclusive dates for the company that encompass all of your positions.

Provide a section that includes all your applicable systems/software skills as well as a section detailing your education and certifications, including the dates. If any of your certifications are no longer current, indicate that they are inactive.

When you send your resume to a prospective employer or a recruiter, send a word or text document as well as a .pdf. This way, you know you've got it covered. Some organizations handle documents differently than others and the multiple formats will be appreciated.

A word about cover letters Brevity is a good thing. A good cover letter should explain why you think you are qualified for the position you're applying for and your willingness to relocate, if applicable. A long, detailed cover letter can create many traps.

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Probus Executive Search
is a permanent placement firm serving the financial and IT executive search needs of the Silicon Valley Area.