All Due Respect, No One Is Going To Read Your ENTIRE Resume!

I know you are a big deal and have done some fantastic things but I can’t stress this point enough, no matter how important you are or think you are, no one is going to read your entire resume. Even the amazingly awesome resumes I create, I am sure that no one reads the entire thing. Do you want to know why?

I’ll tell you, but first, this hit me the other day when a friend of mine in HR asked me to look at a resume and cover letter. I read the nearly two page cover letter and it was full of fluff like most cover letters. It didn’t give me any more insight into the person, only more detail about the resume…(yawn). I read half of the 6 page resume…YES, six pages (one, two, three, four, five - SIX) pages - so a total applicant package of 8 pages.

So I told my friend, I read the cover letter and the first-half of the resume and she said, “Ha, you are better than me, I only read the first paragraph of the cover letter and the top portion of the resume.” So, think about that, the person in charge of doing the hiring only read 20% of the cover letter and about 10% of the resume before deciding to move on.

Non-recruiters and hiring managers, may think that’s mean and heartless but it’s not. Remember, hiring authorities (hiring manager, recruiters, human resources and talent acquisition leaders) don’t have time to read every single word on your resume. And there are still far too many job seekers with 3, 4, 5 and 6 page resumes. If you are sending over novels and short stories, they aren’t reading them.

In resume writing, one of my pet peeves is 3 and 4 sentence bullet points on a resume. I always say, “There has got to be a quicker, better, faster way to say this.” Another pet peeve is paragraph style job descriptions. It looks like a wall of text and no one likes to see that. I recently, listened to a podcast on CareerCloud where Resume Writers Wendy Enelow and Louise Kursmark said that you have to remember people consume information differently, they read in 140 character posts (basically short sentences). That’s brilliant advice! You have to consider your audience and respect their time. You can’t expect someone to read every line and word on your resume - so give them the good stuff.

Remember that every 10 years of work experience should represent a page on your resume and you only need about 10-12 years of stable work history, and even for Executive Directors, CEOs, Managing Directors and other big time Executive level talents, no one cares about what you did in the 70s, 80s and early 90s. Technology has all but made those accomplishments irrelevant anyway - those accomplishments are footnotes now.

So that’s why no one reads your entire resume, because they don’t have time! They are going to scan through it…the recruiter will scan it, the applicant tracking system will scan it, and even your friends will scan it too. Make sure you are scannable - its a balance between taking out somethings and keeping others, hire a professional resume writer to help you.


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