The first 2 things that get your resume deleted

I met with a startup entrepreneur earlier this week. Our discussion covered many topics, but we lingered on one in particular: how he hired employee number 4, a manager. “We got 99 resumes for this position.” That sparked my interest, so I asked what his process was for getting from 99 down to “the one.” That was where it got interesting.

He said he first looked through all the resumes at a glance, and then deleted all the resumes that were more than one page. What?!? Yup, someone who might have been perfectly qualified, capable, and a great culture fit, but had a resume that was more than one page was deleted without so much as a second glance.

  • Lesson #1: whatever is on your resume, unless you’re a very, very accomplished college professor and have been published a few dozen times, your resume should NEVER be more than one page.

The next thing he did was scan each resume, and delete any resume with any sort of obvious grammatical or spelling error on it. Those two swipes with the chain saw got him down to 10 resumes.

  • Lesson #2: no matter how keen your eye, get someone else to look at your resume before you send it out to actual employers. If you can’t – or won’t – take the time to make sure YOUR brand is clean and correct, how will you represent your new employer’s brand?

At 10 resumes, which is a manageable bunch, that’s the point at which he actually read the resumes. In this step, he picked his top three candidates from the actual (accurate) content of their (single page) resumes. That got him down to three candidates to interview. He and his small team of 4 people interviewed each candidate and made a decision: hire the rock star.

Are you looking for a new job? Your resume is your first shot over the bow, your first line of defense, your first impression. Make it one page and make sure it is 100% error free.

What do you think?