June 11, 2004, Newsletter Issue #21: Resume Dates

Tip of the Week

When you write your resume, where are you putting the dates?

Most people put them right after their employment, like this:
Billy Bob`s BBQ Dallas, Texas 1993 - 1997

But by the time you`ve detailed your career history, the dates are lost in the body content, and the reader must search for them.

Resumes are scanned, not read, unless scanning proves reading to be worth the time. First glance takes in the number of your jobs and the dates and random words to see if they correspond with the company`s need.

If your background does not, making the reader search for the dates hastens your resume into the trash. If your resume DOES have keywords, they`ll take more time, but know this: their interest in your resume is in direct proportion to how suitable it is AND how easy it is to read.

Two salient points about your employment dates:
1: they should always be in the left-hand margin EXCEPT when
2: you`ve held more than one position at the same company.

TOTAL TIME goes in the left hand margin, position dates go to the right of the position. Hard to visualize, yes. It should look like this:

6/78 - 9/88 Gabby Geese Borneo, AZ
Director of Goslings 5/82 - 9/88
Here you have the bulleted points, then

Manager of Goslings 6/78 - 5/82
bulleted accomplishments, etc

Placing the dates in the left hand margin need not take up the room most people think it will. If you use normal document margins, you still have three-quarters of the page for the text of your resume.

Here`s an easy tip, but one an AMAZING amount of people don`t think about - so if you are one, you aren`t alone!:

Why are circumstances different when you are interviewing as a job seeker than when you are interviewing as a hiring manager?

For instance, when you are hiring, you want to know all sorts of things you`d NEVER tell if you were a candidate! The same with resumes - if you`ve hired people before, you`ve looked at poorly written ones and well written ones.

Pay attention. The days of the gold watch are gone - whether it is your choice....or increasingly - the company`s....you`ll eventually have been on both sides of the desk.

Judi Perkins
Vision Quest
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Career Guru for lifetips.com: http://www.career.lifetips.com

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