As a career coach, one question that comes up regularly is “Does my resume have to be one page?”. The answer is not necessarily. If you need two pages to accurately represent the skills and accomplishments you are showcasing for a certain position then have a second page. It’s okay (so long as it is at least a half page). The caveat is that the second page may not be read. If you haven’t captured the reader’s attention, they won’t turn to the second page. They will move on to the next resume.
The most important part of your resume is the first third of the first page. This is the prime territory where you capture the reviewers interest. This is where you sell yourself-quickly and concisely.
Take this down even further – the first line of your resume may be your make or break. If you don’t give the reviewer something to grab their interest, they may not bother to read much further. Give them what they need to stay interested. What are you bringing to this employers table? Tell them what you are professionally as it relates to the job you are going for – in 3 lines. Yes, I said 3. This is not the time to do a career brain dump. Again, as it applies to the job you are going for – who are you?
Here is an example of a professional summary statement for an administrative assistant:
PROFESSIONAL SUMMARY: Administrative Assistant with over 5 years’ experience in very busy sales department with 10-person sales team. Easily handle high volume multi-line phone, calendars and data entry. Strong proficiency in MS Word, Excel and PowerPoint.
Three lines and the reviewer already knows some very pertinent information that applies directly to the requirements of the job posting.
It is up to you to grab the reviewer’s attention by giving them what they need to see. The reviewer probably has a list of skills/accomplishments that they are checking off as they read your resume. If they do not see what they need to see in the first third of your resume, they will not search, they will move on to the next resume. Keep their attention by addressing their needs and they will be enticed to continue reading and next thing you know your phone is ringing and you have an interview. Yay!
Copyright 2017 Teri Maher