Resume and Cover Letter Question for HR Professionals

Discussion in 'Off The Beaten Track' started by Japanfan, Jul 21, 2010.

  1. Japanfan

    Japanfan Well-Known Member

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    Editing and composing resumes and cover letters is part of my job but as I'm not an HR professional I am not always award of changing trends - usually I get my information from customers who have worked with HR professionals.

    A customer told me this morning she did not have enough bullet points under the job titles in her resume. The info was given to her by a school instructor, not an HR professional.

    She was very happy with the resume I did for her but has the idea that all resumes should have the identical style and same sequence/number of bullet points. This doesn't make sense to me as everyone has different strengths and experience. For example, some people have skills that were applied in a number of jobs and in that case, I might list the skills first and then provide an employment list. But in other cases the skills demonstrated at different jobs were specific to those jobs and should be listed separately. And in yet other cases the person has weak job experience, so I'll emphasize general skills and aptitudes as well as education.

    This resume is two pages and the titles I used were 'Qualification Highlights', 'Education', 'Highlights of Employment', 'Other Employment', and 'Volunteer Experience'. This format suited her experience and objectives and changing it would make the resume weaker IMO.

    Does anyone know whether there are hard and fast rules about resumes and cover letters beyond what has long been the standard (i.e. name and address at the top of the resume)? For example, does there have to be a 'Profile' and 'Objective' title in a resume and a bullet point list of qualifications in the cover letter?
     
  2. Quintuple

    Quintuple papillon d'amour

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    I think you have more a sound head about it and don't need to worry about supposed "standards". It's great that you tailor the style according to the job candidate. The reason I say this is that every bit of advice or guidelines you will read about proper form, what's considered the only type of acceptable application, and what are definite dos and don'ts ... you'll hear the exact opposite in another article. And back and forth and back and forth ...
     
  3. Bostonfan

    Bostonfan Well-Known Member

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    I concur. There is no "one size fits all" approach. I like to see each job listed with bullet points of the types of things they did at each job. But if someone's experience is light or not directly related to the job posting, but the skills they've acquired over the course of school, volunteer and job experiences are applicable, then I would present them differently (as you suggested above)

    Ask yourself how much recruiting does the school instructor currently do. Everyone has an opinion. Stick with what you're doing and just keep informed at the various career web sites about trends in resumes.
     
  4. Debbie S

    Debbie S Well-Known Member

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    Generally, a resume should not be more than 1 page, unless the person is senior-level - at least 15-20 years of experience. On my resume, I have more bullet points for recent jobs. In fact, the jobs I held more than 10 years ago are listed on a single line under Other Positions Held (they are also not in my current functional area so aren't particularly relevant to jobs I'm currently applying for).

    I have never had an objective listed - everything I've read/heard says that they're useless and are a waste of space. If it doesn't exactly fit the job, the employer will have a reason not to interview you, and usually they end up being so generic that they don't mean anything. Better to use the cover letter to make your points about why you want that particular job and how your skills fit the requirements. I don't use bullets in the cover letter, though.
     
  5. loopey

    loopey Well-Known Member

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    I agree with all of this. Professionals also say that if you have more that 20-25 years of experience don't list the old jobs separately and do not list the date of any degrees. Age discrimination is still a reality and worse in this economy.