Resume Review Exercise

Have you ever gotten so sick of looking at your resume, put it down, and then in a week you see something that you can’t understand why you didn’t see earlier? Or maybe you shared it with your spouse or friend, and within 5 seconds they spot a typo or grammatical mistake?

For years, many of us at Crossroads Career have gone through a “Resume Review” exercise with our small group participants as part of our Step #4, Altitude work. It’s very simple, and it’s usually one of the processes our groups find most valuable.

It’s patterned after how recruiters / staffers in the “old days” used to sort through resumes in order to glean 3-5 of them to share with a hiring manager / client. They were given a stack of resumes, and they needed to match it up to the job description for the position they were looking to fill.

Of course, they had a time deadline with their work, so they needed to get this done as quickly and efficiently as possible, which meant that they could only spend about 15-20 seconds scanning the resume. Once done, they would put it in a “yes,” “no,” or “maybe” stack. They learned to quickly find important and essential information in the resumes that made it to the “yes” stack.

While Crossroads Career can’t “rent” you a recruiter to review your resume using this process, we’ve developed a simple and quick exercise to enable you to find some new insights to improve your resume. All you’ll need is a willing friend and 5 minutes…here’s how it works:

  1. In a minute, I’m going to give you my resume.
  2. When I say “go”, you’ll have 30 seconds to read it and glean as much information from it as you can
  3. After 30 seconds, I’ll ask you to stop reviewing it, and then I will have two questions for you:
    a. What do you remember reading?
    b. What suggestions do you have?
  4. Ready, begin.

100% of the time, we have experienced valuable feedback being shared with the writer about their resume. There have been surprises, both on what is remembered and what is never even seen. And of course, many small tips are shared about font, white space on the resume, bullet point meanings, etc.

As usual, when I’ve found something that works, I also find Scripture already points out the truth. Proverbs 15:22 “Without counsel, plans go awry, but in the multitude of counselors they are established.”

We encourage you to get as many people looking at your resume as possible. Everyone always seems to have an opinion about a resume. Also, please remember, while all feedback is useful, it may not be something you choose to utilize to make any adjustments to your resume.

So…go get some counsel and be prepared for to capture some useful feedback!

Dave Sparkman currently serves as the volunteer Crossroads Career board chair and local ministry leader. He is also the founder and managing director of Spark Your Culture, a corporate culture consulting firm. Prior to that he worked at UnitedHealth Group, a Fortune #5 public company, serving in the role of Chief Culture Officer. His unemployment experience came from the implosion of Arthur Andersen, where he served as the West Region Managing Partner, People.

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