I’ve reviewed tens of thousands of resumes over the past 14 years in Executive
Search and can safely say that some are better than others – much better. Here
are a few tips about resume formatting that will help capture the reader’s
– Introductory comments: Limit “Executive Summary” and “Career
Overview” comments. Readers want to get to the point and know where you’ve
worked and what you’ve done. Searchable keywords about hard-to-find skills are good here, rather than subjective qualities like “hard working” and “attention to detail.”
– Reverse chronological order of positions held: They expect and want this.
– White space: Too much of it is bad. Readers want substance and details about
what you’ve done, including narrow margins if necessary. Be specific about the expectations in your assignments, including the products / markets / technology.
– Accomplishments: Many resumes are exclusively focused on duties and responsibilities,
and are very light on accomplishments. It’s great to know what you were asked
to do, but how well did you do it? Provide numbers whenever possible, about cost savings, revenue generation, timeliness, or anything else that is a matter of fact rather than opinion.
– Finally, if you have had more than three employer changes within a five year time period that may be cause for concern for the reader. Consider including a brief, one-sentence explanation in italics as to why you changed positions, inserted right after the title and date information. For examples “Left after acquisition of ABC Company by XYZ and subsequent downsizing.” Without the explanation the reader is left to assume that you quit or were terminated.