Q+A: How can I tell if my resume is good?

Questions from our Readers
Answered by Michael Pollock

Q: How can I tell if my resume is good?

A: We all sweat our resumes so much: we revise and cut and paste and we lose our grip on how it looks and what it really says. Time and again language gets left behind on an old version and key ideas get lost.

Read it to yourself again – out loud. Ask yourself: “Does it clearly show that I have the goods for this particular position? Does it say simply and concisely what I offer and what I have done that will support that case? Is it easy to read?”
Then show it to other people. Really. Don’t be afraid. It needs to be tested before it is put into action. Show it to people who don’t know you well.

Give them a 5 second look and then take it away from them and ask them to tell you what you offer.

Then give them another 5 second look and ask them to tell you what your most recent experience has been and how it qualifies you for the position you are going for.
Listen to what they say. Are they seeing what you need the hirer to see? If not, try another version and test it again.

A hirer will look at your resume for just a matter of seconds before passing on. It has to work quickly and it has to be totally framed to present you as ideal for the job at hand. That is it.

Give the 5 second test a try – and keep refining it and trying again until people feed back to you just what you want the hirer to get from it.