If you’re going to people – even supposed resume experts – looking for how to tell if your resume is good, beware of anyone who looks at it quickly and gives you their opinion without asking you questions, unless they know both you and the job you want inside and out. Especially be cautious if, after a brief glance, their feedback is simply “It’s great!”
I decided to write this because people often contact me asking me to look at their resume and offer quick feedback, without knowing what quality feedback entails. No one can give you a truly good answer without first knowing some basic things – and that takes more than just a quick glance at your resume’s format and words.
What goes into giving (and getting) good resume feedback
Any person you ask to review your resume needs to be able to give you feedback based on whether your resume actually presents YOU in a way that is a strong match to the job you’re applying for, or at least one that is representative of jobs you really want.
Things they need to know to help them tell if it’s any good:
- Who you are
- What you want
- What you DON’T want
- Experience and skills that are directly relevant
- Any transferable skills
- The job you are applying for
Without knowing all that, pretty much all anyone can tell you is whether the resume looks good visually and has any typos or grammatical errors. (Always important to ask someone else to look at it for that reason alone.) They can also tell you what the resume seems to be saying to them without knowing anything else, and that can be helpful. But that’s just not enough.
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For them to be able to tell if the resume is good enough for your particular job search needs, they need to know about you and your wants. And that includes both direct experiences and skills, and skills that are transferable from previous careers or positions. So make sure if they don’t ask, to clue them in anyway.
Let them in to the whole story – it will help get you much better feedback.
Otherwise you may be relying on a document that is perhaps “good enough” on some levels, but in effect too weak to actually connect to a real live employer who is zeroing in on just those few resumes that quickly show off skills and qualities they most want.
The more your resume paints a strong picture of someone who matches their unique needs (as evidenced by their job description and any other research you’ve done), the better your chance of getting that all-important call for a first interview!
[NOTE: Just so you know … I only offer resume feedback as part of job search coaching, and right now I am not able to take any new clients.]