How soon can you be productive? What your resume really says.

A faithful reader recently asked me to take a look at his resume and it caused me to reread my reference material on the subject. Writing your resume is among the toughest things you ever have to do. It has to sell you when you aren’t there to represent yourself. It has to be succinct, but it also has to establish the breadth of your skills. It’s also a preview of your written communication competency.

When hiring, the first two things I ask myself as I’m going through a stack of resumes is (from Part 2 in my series):

1. Can this person do the job now?
2. How much training will this person require before they can do the job?

If you’ve slanted your experiences such that they can answer #1 with a “Yes”, congratulations, you’re in the interview stack. This is why it can be critical to prepare different resumes for different jobs. One set of experiences might help answer this first question for some jobs while other things you’ve done might answer it for another job. You usually run out of space on your resume and have to make tough choices on what to remove. Let your specific experiences and the descriptions of each job be your guide so that the person screening the resumes can answer this first question more easily in your favor.

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