As a professional resume designer, I keep in touch with trends in the world of resume writing and every week I review dozens of resumes for strengths and opportunities. Recently, I reviewed several resumes for very well educated and very well qualified job seekers that weren’t getting calls for interviews. They were starting to feel discouraged.
When I reviewed their resumes, I immediately saw the problem. The resumes all displayed the same unfortunate handicap – they had a big BUT(T).
By having so little to say on the two most recent jobs, and so much to say in an older job, the resume becomes bottom heavy. The beginning looks bare and thin, while the last job looks full and “meaty”.
This creates an unbalanced visual effect. It looks like your career is winding down, instead of winding up. Even if this is true and you’ve had some so-so jobs in the past few years, there is no reason your resume needs to look like this. Good resume design can fix this while using honest information and data.
A resume like this gives the impression that the job seeker’s best days are in the past. They had a great job, they did amazing work, but what have they accomplished since then? Does the applicant “still have what it takes”? Or is the candidate burnt out, tired, or just plain slacking?
These are not the thoughts you want your resume to inspire. Balancing your career history and showing progressive development of skills and accountability is important. Good resume design can do this, even if your most recent jobs have been simpler or entailed less responsibility.
How to Remove a Big BUT(T)
Next, you need to feed the job descriptions and accomplishments on your most recent roles. Leaving your current or most recent job in “bare bones” creates doubts in the minds of hiring managers. You need to show that your performance and value is consistent. If you feel stuck because your role is much smaller than what you are used to, start thinking outside the box.
For example: If you used to manage a team of 50, but you are a not managing anyone in this job, consider other sources of value: Are you mentoring anyone? Have you trained any new hires? Have you been consulted on projects because of your expertise? There are many honest ways to present the value of your contributions.