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Challenge your resume to the half page test

creating a strong resume, resume half page test, creating a powerful resume,
Fold your resume in half horizontally. Is it easy to
tell what job you seek in the top half of page 1?
If not, improve it!
Let’s face it: Looking for a job sucks. There’s all that time you spend writing your resume and cover letter, submitting them online, networking into the company and then, if you’re lucky, interviewing numerous times with the same company over a three-month period. Perhaps at that point you’re a finalist. Or perhaps the company recruiter has stopped responding to your e-mails and phone calls.

As the headline screamed on an opinion piece by Thomas Friedman published in the July 17, 2011, edition of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, “Nostalgia aside, today is not your parents’ job market.”

Ya’ think? It’s not even the job market WE knew!

So, with all the hurdles you have to jump over just to get an interview, don’t stumble by producing a resume that is too difficult to read and that gives recruiters or hiring managers a reason to toss yours aside for the next applicant’s.

Take the half-page test

We’ve all been told recruiters take 10-15 seconds max to scan your resume. If they like what they see, then they’ll read on. So how do you grab their attention? Take the half-page test right now. Print out a copy of a resume that you tailored for a specific job. Fold the first page in half. Does the top half truly represent the real you, the best you have to offer to that company for that position? If not, start rewriting.

The second question is: Have you written it in the right format to make it easy for the recruiter to read? If not, then you need to reformat it. As much as some outplacement services tout the functional or capabilities resume, recruiters I’ve talked to as well as online postings I've read in HR groups indicate recruiters don’t like it. They far prefer chronological resumes (with your job history and related duties for each job listed in chronological order starting with your most recent job).

If you use a functional resume, they believe you’re trying to hide something. That doesn't mean you should never use a functional resume. It just means you should think twice – maybe three times – before choosing one over the traditional format that recruiters are used to seeing.

Writing a resume is part formula, part art. If you put the two together well, your resume will get noticed ... and that can help land a job or get a better one!

Barbara Deters, resume expert, resume creator,
Barbara Deters
Guest post by Barbara Deters

Barbara Deters is a corporate communications leader
and resume writer based in St. Louis, Missouri.


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