While some resumes might justifiably be confused with novellas, others are distinguished by the paucity of information they provide. Neither extreme works to the job seeker’s benefit.
Consider a resume we received just yesterday which highlights the problems of a detail ‘lite’ approach. It featured a variation of the following description:
2009- Present: Acme Industries, DT Division
Role: Vice-President Marketing
- Develop product strategy and go-to-market plans across all products
- Accumulate market & customer requirements through interviews, surveys and sales engagements
- Provide insight and review blog content
- Unique value proposition creation and messaging based on market expertise and intelligence
- AR/IR: Work closely with analyst firms
- Speaking engagements with press and at various events.
- Conduct internal and external webcasts
- Global Product launch planning and execution, product review
- Design and conduct product training, sales and technical training for partners
- Develop marketing collateral and tools such as: white papers, presentations, and competitive analysis
Note that the narrative excludes even a modicum of information on Acme Industries or its DT Division. There is no reference to whether and what the company produces, its size, revenues, number of employees, whether the job seeker worked in head office or a branch office, what he was hired to accomplish, etc etc etc.
There are several plausible explanations for such an omission. It is possible that an executive who has worked in a given industry or company for many years assumes that all readers are familiar with his firm and as a result believes there is no need to provide colour of information. On the other hand, perhaps the executive wants consideration for jobs across a wide range of sectors and thus purposefully skews the information in his resume in the hopes that the reader will focus on functional rather than industry experience. Still others may simply be unaware of the issue altogether.
While some companies may be industry agnostic when they hire, focusing exclusively on core competencies, a far greater percentage are not. The small tech firm that produces software for the financial services market usually seeks candidates familiar with some combination of their industry, products and/or customers and who have worked in similar contexts/sizes of businesses. If Acme Industries is in fact a large multinational corporation that produces ball bearings for heavy industry applications, it is unlikely that an executive from such a firm will resonate with that software firm, irrespective of their marketing credentials. However, it is difficult to know this without details on ACME and its DT Division.
While job seekers may well be sensitive to their resumes being overly verbose, frugality of information can be equally unhelpful to their cause. In this instance less is not more.
About the Author
Robert Hebert is the founder and Managing Partner of StoneWood Group Inc., a leading executive search firm in Canada. Since 1981, he has helped firms across a wide range of sectors address their senior recruiting, assessment and leadership development requirements.