One of the trends I have been seeing lately with resumes is that the contact section at the top of a resume, which typically falls under the candidate’s name, seems to be growing by leaps and bounds. I came across a resume the other day that actually listed three phone numbers, two e-mail addresses, a website, a fax number, and a LinkedIn identifier.
It gave me pause.
Just exactly how much information is too much? Although all candidates certainly want to make themselves available to potential employers, is there a point when enough is enough?
To look at this issue more closely, I have compiled some of the main reasons I have received from job seekers for loading up the resume with contact info:
1. “I want the employer to have lots of options of reaching me.” As a former hiring manager and as someone who works with recruiters and current hiring managers, I’ve yet to meet one who does anything more than call or e-mail a candidate. And if you give the employer three numbers, he or she will likely only pick one, call that number, and leave a message if you are not available. Who has the time to call around to three numbers to try and reach someone? Also, this may come as a shock, but when given the choice, most people will choose the home number, even over the cell. Spend a few minutes making business calls to cell phones, and you will know the reason why. It gets tedious talking to people who are driving or standing in the middle of the grocery store.
2. “I want the employer to see how up-to-date I am.” Having a website or being on LinkedIn can be wonderful things, but since a resume is a form of marketing, one of the main rules of marketing is knowing just how much to reveal to satisfy the desire of the audience and nothing more. So if you are going to include these things, you need to make sure (a) that there is absolutely nothing personal about you on these sites, (b) that your presentation is stellar (if your website is cookie-cutter, don’t show it off like a trophy; fix the typos; make sure all the features work), and (c) that it has some relevance to the job you are going for. I’ve seen people with side carpentry businesses giving out their websites on resumes for IT positions! Come on, that’s just weird, not to mention that it makes you look like you’d rather be doing carpentry if only you could make enough doing it.
3. “I don’t want to miss the employer’s call.” Listen. Employers, recruiters, etc., they are all very familiar with voice mail and how it works. They also recognize that you may be currently employed or just generally live life like they do. Believe me. It is better to have them leave a voice mail message than to answer the phone when you are out somewhere or at your other job.
I can’t tell you how many times I called candidates as a hiring manager who were currently sitting at their desks at other jobs. Honestly, I found it distasteful. All I could think about was whether this was how they were going to act when they worked for me.
Besides, there is something to be said for taking a message and returning the call. You can get yourself to a quiet location, prepare your mind for the nature of the call, and do it while on a lunch break instead of while on another company’s tab.
Overall, a resume should always be thinking about its audience. Therefore, it should be about what the audience wants, not about what the candidate wants. Resumes, by nature, despite what anyone tells you, should be succinct. In other words, get to the point: what’s your name, how do I reach you (one phone number, one e-mail address), what kind of position do you want, what’s your background, and what are your main accomplishments. Nothing more, nothing less.
Listen. I know that LinkedIn is a great tool, and we always hope that if someone sees our contacts, they will recognize someone they know and then want to hire us all the more! The problem, of course, is that you don’t really know how a potential employer will take to what he or she sees there. Maybe they will see a contact name is a turn off?
If you still feel that the employer can benefit from seeing your website or viewing your online profile, then save it for after you go on an interview, develop a solid rapport, and get a feel for whether there is something to be gained from doing so.
So who am I anyway? Why do I think my advice is so valuable?
My name is Stephen Van Vreede. My company is called No Stone Unturned, and I have spent 15 years on both sides of the corporate hiring experience.
The short story is that I have an MBA in Marketing from Villanova University and a dual B.S. degree in Finance & Logistics from the University of Maryland. I am a certified professional résumé writer (CPRW) and a member of the Professional Association of Résumé Writers and Career Coaches (PARW/CC). As I mentioned, I paid my dues in the corporate world eventually running a large-scale call center for a major truck rental company, and I have spent the past 7 years with No Stone Unturned, assisting job seekers in achieving their goals.
I know that my products will work for you because they are based on common-sense principles leveraged with good, solid expertise and knowledge of the job search process. After working with countless job seekers, I have become more and more convinced that most of them do not properly prepare for a job search and rely way too much on online sites and trendy articles to tell them what to do. Thus, they waste a lot of time, money, and energy.
If you still aren’t sure whether our services are right for you, feel free to give me a call toll-free at 1-866-755-9800 or better yet, sign up to receive my free Job Search Advice eGuide today.
Also, in February 2009, I am launching a new group job hunting networking site: Noddle Place. Check it out at http://www.noddleplace.com.