Wednesday, January 15, 2014

What Kind of First Impression Does Your Resume Make?

Had I known where I would be now and what I would be doing when I started reviewing resumes in 1990, I would have kept track of how many resumes I’ve actually reviewed over the years.
The best I can do is to suggest that my eyeballs have reviewed tens of thousands of resumes over the years I’ve been a recruiter.

Your Resume Makes a First Impression

Over the past 5+ years, I’ve done research with clients and colleagues to get to the bottom of what makes one resume great and one resume not-so-great.

A resume is your personal marketing communication device.  The first impression your resume leaves is the impression you’ll have to live with.  Since you get one chance to make a first impression, doesn’t it make sense to do what it takes for your resume to make a “great” first impression?

I’m not talking about making an impression based on false or embellished data on your resume.  What I am talking about is creating a resume that can be reviewed by the receiver of your resume in 5-15 seconds.  Your resume must clearly demonstrate who you are, where you are, how you’re educated, how you’re credentialed and what you’re great at delivering professionally.  This is what the resume reviewer uses to form their first impression of you.

If you can’t communicate what you do and what you’re great at delivering professionally in the language of the receiver of your resume, the game is over.

What Makes a Great Resume?

Your resume is not for you.  Your resume is for the audience that needs to understand you and evaluate you against an opening they have in their company.  If your resume doesn’t speak in the language of the variety of people who will read it, you will not get a call for an interview.

Your resume needs to be clean, clear, logical and quick to educate the reader.  Your resume must demonstrate the contributions you’ve made to previous employers. Your resume must communicate the value you’ve created for past employers so that future employers can determine how you might contribute to their organization.


It is your job to interpret your skills and abilities to your resume’s audience.  Take the burden of interpretation away from your resume’s audience and you’ll leave stronger first impressions.  Stronger first impressions lead to more interviews.'s Security Recruiter Blog