Before we begin, a disclaimer on resume advice: Everyone has an opinion on what should be included on a resume, and there's not necessarily a right or wrong approach. If you give your resume to someone for review, they will always come back to you with their own take on what should be highlighted or changed. My recommendations are not the only way to go, they are merely observations and thoughts specific to our industry and how it relates to resume content. It is important is to study the different content methods and utilize what you feel works best for you.
THE CONTENT OBSESSION ARGUMENT
After reviewing thousands of resumes over the years, I have noticed one thing that is consistent across 90% of professionals they all think the hiring person analyzes and pours over every single word in the resume. This is simply not the case. Most good job openings get hundreds of applications, and there's no way the hiring person will sift through and read each line in detail.
In fact, a secondary but equally important issue arises due to the competition. Resume content overload. Having a long list of bullet points under each course you have worked for may show that you accomplished much while there. But perhaps its too much information at this initial stage and you risk getting the glaze-over effect from the reader. I don't care how professional someone is at reviewing resumes and finding talent, it is human nature to want to skim over the highlights when sifting through hundreds of files. Pages of bullet points distract from your core competency and experience highlights.
Finally, all this extra content on the resume is not where it should be placed. According to The American Heritage Dictionary, the definition of resume is: A brief account of one's professional or work experience and qualifications; a summary. There's nothing brief about multi-page resumes, nor is it a summary. Its more of a full-on detailing of all aspects of your career. There is nothing wrong with having a piece like this, just don't submit it as your resume. You are doing yourself a disservice by applying in this manner; it just doesn't work.. Submit a short resume and a separate detailed document for everything else.
UNDERSTANDING OUR UNIQUE INDUSTRY
The world of golf maintenance is a unique business in that many of us work for and are hired by volunteer club officials and board members. Most business sectors have specialized HR departments solely responsible for hiring the right talent and retaining personnel. And if they don't then it is contracted out to a qualified head-hunting firm to meet company needs.
While a few clubs utilize their own HR or an outside consultant, the majority hire superintendents via their green committee and general manager or golf professional. The result has normally been to take an easy road and pick from those individuals who have worked at well-known facilities. This serves two purposes. First, it gives the club a sense that if the candidate works for a place with high stature, then they are qualified to take their club to that next level, with no regard for budgets or scaling of operations. Secondly, if the superintendent is hired and is less than they expected, they can report to their peer members that, Hey, we hired talent from one of the best golf courses in the country, what else could we have done?
This mindset is more prevalent than anyone would like to admit today. For those who have a great pedigree of well-known courses in their experience, it works out well. If you don't, its not the end of the world during the initial hiring process but must be noted. Which brings us back to the resume. No matter where you have worked, if you effectively portray yourself for an application you can gain an interview and overcome any issues arising from volunteer staff or committees reviewing your credentials.
SO NOW WHAT?
Now that we know our obstacles we can target resume content to grab attention. Here are some tips to consider:
I challenge you to create a resume that is only one page in length. This is a true resume and is meant to summarize your career. Create a separate document that has all the bullet points and details of your career, call this a portfolio, career anthology or magazine, etc. This will ensure only the very best about your career is presented on the resume, hopefully leading the reader to engage more in the content and at a later point possibly view your detailed career information via a portfolio. With digital capabilities, you can even link in your resume to the longer portfolio document so you don't have to submit additional files.
- Never create a resume that is more than two pages in length. If it is more than two pages, it's too long, period. If you are going to cross over into a 2-page resume, try to get all of your course experience on the first page, and then leave your education, associations, tournaments, etc. relegated to the second page.
- Abandon all bullet points under each golf course. Simply list the course, your position, dates worked, and a brief description of the club and if it was renovated during your tenure.
- Remove the 'objective' statement. It is wasted space. The hiring person knows you are an industry professional looking to further your career at another club.
- Include a Qualifications or Highlights/Skills section at the beginning of the resume. Replacing the Objective with this will tell the reader that you are a good candidate because of these unique traits. This can be in bullet point or paragraph form, but you should try to keep it to 4 or 5 sentences. Not long compound sentences, but clear concise descriptions of your career highlights.
- Design the layout to grab attention, not to include as much text as possible on the page. Again, the idea with the resume is to get the reader to understand the basics of your career, then deliver on the details with a separate piece. This can be accomplished via special fonts, colors, text callouts and more. However, be very careful here not to go over-the-top or DIY graphic designer, sometimes this area should be contracted out to hired help or friends that know design.
- Consider creating a personal website and really drive interest to it from the resume with a large, direct link. Nothing grabs a hiring persons attention quite like a website. Why? Because all they have to do is click a URL link to view your career in a great sectioned format, not to mention pictures of the actual course, construction projects, and more. Ill dive into websites in much more detail at a later date. Just know that they are very effective if done properly. Re-read Tip #6 if you think this can be done with a free tool in your spare time though. Your career should be your top priority and it shouldn't be reflected by materials that are less than your professional quality on the course.
- Include a cover letter that is customized to that specific course, and why you are the best candidate for that club. Your cover letter should never be the same to every course you apply, it should vary greatly based on the application. By customizing it, you allow the hiring person to know you have already studied the club and immediately gain credibility as a sincere and thorough prospective hire. More on this in another posting down the road.
By following these tips you should be able to create a resume that has impact, hits on all your career highlights, and provides your best chance for a closer look at your career details. Leave the lengthy and repetitive bullet points for a separate document, quit obsessing on every word in a compound sentence, and focus on the basics. You'll be more than surprised by the results.