Most people don't actually think through the answer to this question before they sit down and start creating their resume or updating an old version. Instead they jump right in, crafting a document that is somewhat like an autobiography. They capture ALL of their work experiences and provide an exhaustive list of the responsibilities they had in their various roles. They write their resume for themselves, not the intended audience.
Instead of jumping right in, take a few minutes and really think through this question: Who are you writing your resume for? When you create a resume, are you creating it for yourself? Is it intended to capture the full history of your work experiences? Should it start with high school graduation and include everything since? Should it be a "catch-all" listing every responsibility you ever had?
At Revision Resume we answer the above questions with a resounding "No!" Your resume is not for you. If it was, you would create it, frame it and hang it on your wall. But, that is not what you do with a resume. Instead, you create it to submit to a job opening in an effort to obtain a new position.
Your resume is really a marketing document that is meant to help get your foot in the door. The idea is to create a document that is about you, but not actually for you. Instead, it is for the intended audience, which is typically a hiring manager or recruiter. Your goal is to provide them the information they need to make a simple decision. Should they invest time in interviewing you? Is it worthwhile to proceed with you as a candidate for the opening they are trying to fill? Is it possible you are a good match for the position?
Does a hiring manager care about all of your work experience, starting with your high school graduation? Probably not. If your first few jobs were entry level and you have moved up, they probably are not interested in what you did in those roles. Or, if you have had a career change over the years, you may not need to list the previous career on your resume, as it may not provide any beneficial information for this new opening.
In addition, the hiring manager or recruiter does not want to see an exhaustive list of your responsibilities. Instead, they want to see how you can tackle the role they are trying to fill. You can demonstrate your ability to be successful by showing how you were successful in your previous roles. Provide actions you took and results you achieved, instead of a list of responsibilities. This will make for much more powerful bullets and help the hiring manager or recruiter realize that it might be worth their time to select you for an interview.
Keep in mind that the person reviewing your resume has invested time in creating a job posting which highlights what they are looking for. You should spend some time evaluating the job posting and ensuring that your resume showcases how your skills and qualifications align you with the role you are seeking. Again, your resume is not for you, but for the person reviewing it. If they put time in creating a posting to summarize what they are seeking, you should spend more than a few seconds taking a look at it and understanding if you are a good fit for their needs. Then show them, with your resume, how you are a match.
Many people dread writing their resume. It is a lot of work and can be challenging, especially if you don't know what to include and what to leave out. Revision Resume crafts resumes for clients highlighting their skills and experiences so they show alignment with the desired job opening. Interested in learning more about our services or requesting assistance? Click here.