Resume tips

Like any genre, the more examples you see the better. If you are looking for resume models, FSU’s Career Center offers a resume guide that includes helpful examples of a chronological, functional, and combined resume. The commercial site Quintessential Careers has about two dozen “real, high-quality” sample resumes of recent grads. Don’t neglect to also take advantage of Kursmark’s Best Resumes, available online through the library.

Resume length: There is no absolute rule your resume be one page, though some employers may specify one, so if yours is longer, having an alternate version couldn’t hurt. In general, the advice books suggest 1 page if you have limited experience, 2 if you have 10 yrs. or more, but, as we’ve seen, some of you are quite accomplished. About one-third of the sample resumes from from Quintessential Careers are two pages; examining these should give you a better sense of how long your own should be. (Some more advice from them here.) A few other tidbits:

From the UM Career Center FAQs:

How long should my resume be? We are less concerned with resume length than we are with resume content. If you have rich content and a compelling story that dictates two pages versus one that’s OK. There are some employers who request a one page resume so be prepared for it,  but many do not.

From a Forbes article on resume “myths“:

Myth: You must keep your resume to one page. Not true! “Page count is not as important as the number of words on the page, ” [Jacob] Bollinger [formerly a data scientist at Bright.com, now at LinkedIn] says, “The number of words actually affected recruiters in a bell curve manner. So what’s the magic word count that keeps recruiters reading (aside from your work experience)? About 390 words per page.” Ann Baehr,  an executive resume writer and founder of Best Resumes of New York says one page resumes are best for early career job seekers. “Even then,  if there is a lot of valuable information that simple cannot fit on one page,  a second page is fine. I have done plenty of two page resumes for early career professionals and it has never been an issue.”

From a survey done by the Career Thought Leaders Consortium:

There is continued emphasis on “writing short and tight.” The norm for most resumes/CVs is one to two pages,  even for very experienced professionals. A survey of HR/recruiters on LinkedIn indicated an overwhelming preference for two-­‐page resumes provided there is enough value in the content to warrant a second page. Length is not the only critical factor. Of equal or greater importance is concise writing,  short paragraphs,  brief lists of bullet points,  and good organizational strategies that ensure the resume can be quickly skimmed. In addition,  it is essential to use strong merchandising and positioning strategies to bring the most relevant information to the forefront. Creating a strong impact “above the fold” – on the top half of the first page of the resume – has become increasingly critical for job seekers in one of the most competitive employment markets we’ve ever experienced.

And finally some conflicting advice from Monster.com. The takeaway for me here is not to get too hung up on the “rule,” but rather, to ask if you narrating your professional story effectively.

Cheers, and good luck to all.

Speaking of engagement

I was intrigued by your uptake of Bruni and the Great Jobs report today. There is a fascinating literature on workplace engagement that tracks well with the features you suggested in our discussion. William Kahn, for example, has suggested 3 components to engagement: cognitive, physical, and emotional. The widely used Utrecht Work Engagement Scale (UWES) developed by Wilmar Schaufeli and his colleagues (see UWES Manual) defines engagement as characterized by vigor (i.e., energy, resilience, persistence), dedication (i.e. involvement and a sense of purpose), and absorption (being fully engrossed), as opposed to exhaustion, cynicism, and boredom or distraction.

What causes engagement? As you intuited, research suggests that while there are personal qualities associated with engagement (e.g., conscientiousness, optimism), job resources are key—social support from colleagues and supervisors, constructive feedback, training and coaching assistance, task variety, autonomy, etc. Some “personal” qualities may both affect and be affected by engagement, such as personal efficacy, one’s confidence in one’s ability to complete certain tasks.

Are you engaged? If you’d like to “test’ your own engagement, the UWES-9 offers a quick inventory. A sample of Dutch workers found a mean score (average of 9 items) of 3.74 (UWES Manual 36), with “high” engagement (top quartile) at 4.67 and above and “low” engagement (bottom quartile) at 2.88 and below.

What’s next? Beyond a particular work environment, one’s “fit” with a particular career or field may also matter. The University’s career center offers a variety of self-directed inventories at low cost that one can take to get a better sense of what careers might best fit one’s dispositions and interests; the free online Keirsey Temperament Sorter might also be of interest. Of course, one of the best ways to get a sense of the “fit” of a field is to speak with—and if possible shadow—working professionals. I personally got very lucky in my own career choice, but the day-to-day job of being a professor is not what I imagined it to be as an undergraduate. J