Hiring managers are daily besieged with resumes. Don't bore them to death or present a laundry list of every job you've held since high school. To make a great impression, your resume should quickly and highlight your specific business and professional experience, plus your career accomplishments, training and education.
The Sales Pitch
Your resume should capture the interest of an employer in less than ten seconds.
As shallow as it sounds, it is absolutely true.
Because resumes are quickly skimmed during the first pass, it is crucial your resume gets right to work selling your credentials.
Hiring managers typically receive hundreds of resume submissions each week and must quickly ''weed out'' the bad from the good. At Employment Authority, we have reviewed thousands of resumes and the ones that are successful - the ones that land people jobs - are the ones that quickly capture the interest of the employer and make a lasting impression. Dust your resume off and ask yourself: Will the hiring manager see my key qualifications within 10-15 seconds? If the answer is no, you can bet your resume will be in the trash within 10-15 seconds.
Imagine you are a hiring manager with a stack of 200+ resumes sitting on your desk. How much time are you going to spend on each one?
And be specific. A vague description of your duties will make only a vague impression.
Your Resume Is Not An Autobiography
Is it necessary to limit your resume to just one page? Are three or even four pages too much? A common sense approach should prevail. As a general rule, if you are just graduating, have fewer than five years of work experience or are contemplating a complete career change, a one-page resume will probably do. Executive and some technical candidates may require multiple-page resumes. If you have more than five years of experience and a track-record of accomplishments, you will probably need at least two pages. Typically, you wan to include only the last five years of relevant work or the last five employers (within the last five years), whichever shows the most work accomplished.
Use An Editor's Eye
Your resume must be perfect.
Your resume will be scrutinized against hundreds, if not thousands, of other applicants. Accordingly, it is essential it contains no flaws, no inconsistencies, no imperfections. After all, the employer has to narrow the field of applicants to a more manageable number. Would you hire someone who's resume contains typos or grammatical errors? Unfortunately, typos and grammatical errors are the precise reason many highly qualified individuals find themselves unemployed, underemployed, or in a dead-end job with no opportunities for advancement.
Clean, Simple Formatting and Appearance
A resume must always be easy to read and have a flawless appearance. Don't use cutesy paper, or casual fonts for your resume. Use a neutral paper color and a professional looking font such as Times Roman, Arial, or Helvetica. The font should not be too large. Generally, keep the font size within 11-12 points.
Margins, tabs and other formatting must be consistent. In addition, you should emphasize the names of your current and past employers so that the person reviewing your resume will know at a glance where you have worked. Below are some important formatting considerations to keep in mind:
Never get cute with your contact information. Simply list the information below at the top of the page:
City, State Zip
Preferably, your name should be in bold and a larger font so that it stands out. You should also use your private email address because you want to appear discrete.
Avoid writing an ''objective'' section. Saying ''My objective is...'' is the same as saying, ''I want.'' And who cares about what you want? Employers are looking for attributes that define you as a product capable of meeting the company's needs and priorities. With the oversupply of talent available in the current job market, do you really believe employers are thinking about what they can do for you?
The summary is like the thesis statement for a term paper. In it, you're trying to prove your knowledge of a particular area. By custom, the summary is written in a third-party voice with tight, carefully crafted words and phrases. It is designed to capture the reader's attention - a thumbnail sketch to provide a brief rationale of why the resume is worth reading and why you are worth interviewing.
Most employers like to see some kind summary statement - the more specific, the better. Always substantiate the claims in your summary with facts elsewhere in the resume.
Unless you have been out of school longer than three or four years, your education should precede your experience on your resume. At minimum, the education section should include your most recent degree, followed by your undergraduate degree, when they were earned or are expected, and what school you attended or are attending. Many job seekers also include their GPA. Unless you are applying for positions in a very narrow geographic area where you grew up (e.g. Cedar Rapids, IA), you should not include your high school.
It is also important to list significant academic or non-academic honors and activities on your resume. Most job-seekers incorporate this into their education section. The honors section should list anything of importance such as Dean's List, cum laude, or magna cum laude. If you have received any unusual honors or distinctions, it is useful to include brief explanations.
List your work experience in reverse chronological order (i.e. your most recent job at the top). It is important to describe specific accomplishments, not simply list your job responsibilities. You should create a dynamic and exciting picture of what you have done. For example, instead of ''Drafted letters and correspondence,'' use, ''Wrote prospect letter that generated more than $500,000 in donations.''
The descriptions should highlight the experience, accomplishments, training and education most relevant to your current job search - so the bartending job you had after college shouldn't be in there. Finally, never exaggerate or lie about your experience or accomplishments - the employer will find out, and you can kiss your job goodbye.
Final Points To Remember:
- Don't try to save money by printing your resume on cheap copy paper instead of good quality stock. Check for typos, grammatical errors and coffee stains.
- Personal information does not belong on a resume in the United States. Don't include information on your marital status, age, race, or family.
- Remove ''References Available Upon Request''. Employers will request references when they are ready for them. It's only taking up space.
- '' If you speak more than one language, include that information. You never know when a company might want to expand its target market.