Why do we have Resumés?

ResumeI’m sure you’ve never really thought about but do you know why we even have Resumés? Why is this the standard for the job hunt? 

According to Dictionary.com, the word “Resumé was first recorded between 1375–1425. It comes from the Latin Resumére. The Latin word can be broken down into re-, a prefix meaning “again, back,” and sūmere, which means “to take.”

Dictionary.com explains that a Resumé is “a brief written account of personal, educational, and professional qualifications and experience, as prepared by an applicant for a job.” 

One side note – what is the difference between a Resumé and a CV – Curriculum Vitae?

Curriculum Vitae (CV) is Latin for “course of life.” In contrast, a Resumé is French for “summary.” 

According to UC Davis Internship and Career Center, “The CV presents a complete history of your academic credentials, so the document length is variable. In contrast, a Resumé presents a concise picture of your skills and qualifications for a specific position, so length tends to be shorter and dictated by years of experience (generally 1-2 pages).

I had a High School journalism teacher that drilled two very important concepts into my head. The first is that of an inverted pyramid method of journalistic writing. You put the essential bits of information first in an article. If a person gets bored and stops reading, they have the relevant information. The second concept that Mr. Bailey taught us what that of C.T.C.G.T.T.P. Cut The Crap and Get To The Point. I believe that, especially in Resumés, we don’t need fluff. You must highlight to a potential employer how their life and the company will benefit from hiring you to fill their role. Now, because I specialize in working with Salespeople, state your metrics, Rolodex, and relevant information nice and clear.

Use bullet points! As you know, the world is full of distractions, make it easy for a Hiring person to see what you’re all about!

I think back to my time in the Army. I spent four years of training, working on boats, a deployment, three knee surgeries, and a few accommodation metals, and yet when I got out, they handed me a single page DD-214. This one-page document lists your job, duty station, entry and discharge date, and type of discharge. Now, this is a drastic comparison to a Resumé, but the DD-214 opened up career and educational opportunities along with the start of my disability claim with the VA. But think about how to keep your 5, 10, 20+ year career concise. How can you highlight the most critical elements of your experience to a potential employer?

One side note, DON’T put your photo or full address on your Resumé! Put your home’s City, State, and Zip code, mainly so you get filed correctly. But pictures on Resumés are just cheesy. Do put your best, most professional photograph on LinkedIn.

One final thought on your Resumé. I highly recommend that your LinkedIn and Resumé match perfectly. Believe it or not, I’ve had several hiring managers pass on candidates over the years because their Linkedin and Resumés don’t match. This can signal a lack of attention to detail or the belief that you are padding or hiding some info.

There is debate on rather a one, or two-page Resumé is best. I believe a one-pager is best for the initial intro, and a two-page Resumé can be used for more extended conversations. 

If you need Resume & LinkedIn Coaching, we can help.