Volume 11 No. 1 SPRING 2010

Your Career: The Interview-landing Resume

There is a major misconception about resumes: your resume does not get you a job. Your resume gets you an interview. It is a teaser to entice people to call you for an interview. The interview is your opportunity to land the job. Consider this: you will not get an interview with a lousy resume, and you will not get the job with a lousy interview. So, how do you create a resume that lands interviews? There are really only four rules you should always follow.

Rule #4) Stay positive and realistic

In 2008, the Bureau of Labor and Statistics found that it took candidates in management and professional occupations an average of five months to find a new position after becoming unemployed. In addition, the outplacement firm First Transitions approximates that a job hunt takes about one month for every $20,000 in earned annual income (in a previous position). So, remember to set realistic expectations and to give yourself a break if you have been job hunting for a while.

Rule #3) Everyone has an opinion

If you ask ten people about your resume, you will get ten different opinions. Learn from good sources, but remember that you need to create a document that reflects you and of which you are proud. Only you can make the final decision about the content and look of your resume.

Rule #2) Remember your limits: space & time

You have limited time (how long someone will spend on your resume) and limited space (how much you can fit on a page). When adding anything to the page, first consider your limits. Ask yourself: Does this new information tell the reader something different and important about me? What do I have to leave out to include this? Learn to ruthlessly edit.

Rule #1) Think from the employer’s perspective

If you follow only one rule, let it be this one. Think about every word on your resume from the perspective of the employer. The employer has a problem—his open position—your goal is to be the solution. And you only can do this if you accurately represent your expertise in relation to the employer’s needs, rather than your wants. On average, recruiters spend less than a minute on an initial scan of a resume. Make every word count. If you have a difficult time editing, remember that your resume does not represent who you are as a person. It is a snapshot of your career. It is a tool to get you an interview.

What now?

For tips on how to apply the four resume rules, visit the new SmithConnector. To create your own interview-landing resume, join Alumni Career Services in College Park on Tuesday, April 13 from 6-7 p.m.

Alumni Career Services provides full-spectrum career coaching, workshops and career panels for Smith School alumni. For more information, contact Alumni Career Services at 301-405-1418 or via e-mail

You have a great resume, what’s next? To turn your interview into a job offer, check out the article on interview skills on SmithConnector.

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