RE: Average Length of TW Resume

Subject: RE: Average Length of TW Resume
From: "Michael West" <mwest -at- oz -dot- quest -dot- com>
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Thu, 30 Mar 2000 15:40:18 +1000

Lindsay Burrell wrote:

> Sent: Thursday, March 30, 2000 6:38 AM
> Subject: Re: Average Length of TW Resume
> I know that for the "ordinary person", conventional wisdom says that a
> resume should be no longer than 3 pages. But it's hard to see how a
> contractor can capture all of the information needed in three pages. My
> husband's department is frequently involved in hiring, and he and his buds
> see a lot of resumes. His view is that no-one thinks about a third page in
> a really interesting (read: on-task, well-targeted) resume,
> because it's all really the stuff they want to know. This seems right to

Sort of, but it also sounds like they've got the most important stuff at the
wrong end. They must not be tech writers.

There are a few good ways of putting together a resume. What has worked well
for me is a structure that begins with very some general, high-level
statements of my interests and qualifications, followed by brief summaries of
previous job responsibilities and accomplishments, working from the present
to the past. On the bottom of the last page are all the trivial bits and
pieces, like where I went to school and what I did 25 years ago. The whole
thing comes to three carefully fitted pages, with lots of subheadings and
bulleted lists, and it is always accompanied by a brief, precisely targeted
cover letter that speaks directly to the recruiter about the position
advertised and highlights the things I've already done that demonstrate my

If you do it this way, the resume changes little, while the cover letter is
always 100% targeted.

I admit that the rules for contractors might require a lot more detail. But
even with 20+ years in the game, three pages is enough for me to hit the
highlights, especially with a targeted cover letter. (Remember too that we
can show a portfolio of samples to demonstrate our skills and versatility.)

As someone has already said in this thread, the resume is supposed to get you
the interview, not the job. Some things in life are more attractive with the
veil of mystery hanging over them. Job candidates are among them. Perhaps you
can think of others.

Michael West


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