By Dr. Howard Gauthier
Quite often when a job opens up within a college athletic department there will be more than 50 people who apply for the position. In fact, sometimes there could be more than 100 or even 200 applicants. With so many applicants, how do you get your resume noticed?
In the typical search, many of the applicants don’t meet the basic requirements of the position. Still others will submit resumes that are hard to read. Therefore, you need to be able to present a resume that is professional, clearly shows how you meet the qualifications of the position, and is easy to read. In fact, your resume needs to sell you within 10-20 seconds. This is the length of time that most search committee members will take to initially view a resume. If the resume catches their attention, the members of the committee will spend more time reviewing your credentials.
Many people will tell you that a resume should be one to two pages in length at a maximum. I somewhat disagree. A resume needs to be long enough to show your experiences and accomplishments, but short enough that a potential employer will read it. As a person advances in their career, their resume will grow in length. My personal resume is four pages long. When I first graduated from college my resume was one or two pages, but as new experiences and accomplishments came along the resume grew. I feel strongly that if I were to limit my resume to two pages, I would severely hinder my opportunity to sell myself to a perspective employer.
Your resume needs to effectively use fonts, bullets, bold, and underlining to get the search committee to see what you want them to see. People naturally view written pages from the top of the page and down the left margin. Therefore, these areas need to have your most important information. Writing lengthy sentences and paragraphs are a sure-fire way to lose the interest of the reader, and they will usually stop reading your resume. In other words, your resume needs to be viewed as a marketing tool that promotes you as a job applicant. This marketing tool needs to be pleasing to view, and needs to easily show how you meet the qualifications of the position. If you cannot show how you meet the qualifications of the job within 10-20 seconds, you won’t be a finalist for the position. In essence, your resume is an important marketing tool used for showing your qualifications. Your resume, along with the cover letter, form the basic marketing tools for effectively selling yourself to the search committee. If either tool is not constructed properly, you most likely will not receive the opportunity to interview. The key is that you know the basic fundamental skills that are associated with each stage of the job search process and that you effectively perform each of these skills. In all you do, you will want to EXECUTE FOR SUCCESS!
Howard Gauthier is an Associate Professor of Athletic Administration at Idaho State University. He is a former collegiate athletic director and collegiate basketball coach. He is also an author of 8 books. Check out his new book, Getting Hired In College Sports – 2nd Edition at www.SportsCareersInstitute.com.