There's nothing more important than a first impression, which is why it's so important to send a great resume when applying for employment. It's your first (and maybe only) opportunity to get your foot in the door. Hiring managers and recruiters have seen their fair share of terrible resumes; turn in a bad one, and you'll end up in their trash bins rather than on their short lists. Here are some tips to help you make your resume a great one.
Most resumes are read for about 25 seconds. Most hiring managers and recruiters add your resume to the pile of potential candidates and read them more thoroughly later on. If your resume is hard to read, organized poorly, or more than two pages, it will get tossed or deleted. Here's how your resume should be formatted:
- Use logic to organize the order. What would the hiring manager want to see first?
- Use wide margins as well as a clean font. Be sure to also include clear headings. The hiring manager or recruiter will need to be able to look back at your resume to re-visit information they feel is important, you want to make it easy for them to find everything they need.
- Use bullet points to emphasize important information (such as accomplishments).
Describe Your Professional Accomplishments Not Just a Description of Responsibilities
Hiring managers are looking for candidates that can solve problems and will satisfy a need in their organization. Because of this it's important that you describe your accomplishments and what problems you solved at your last company to ensure them you can do the same or more in theirs.
- Describe what you did in your previous employments, not what your responsibilities where, there's a difference.
- Describe your job in the two top lines and then list your greatest accomplishments.
- For each accomplishment ask yourself, how did my action benefit the company?
- Don't list anything that someone else did, only those accomplishments that are unique to you.
- Do not use generic job descriptions for which you originally applied for or had.
List Only Important Accomplishments
One of the most common mistake individuals make on their resume is making general claims and using an excessive amount of industry jargon. A resume is a document that is meant to market your skills and strengths to help you get an interview, it's not meant to be an autobiography. List specific achievements that help paint a picture of how you benefited another company (which will translate into how you can help their company).
Create a Resume Catered to the Industry You Are Applying For
If you are applying for a creative position such as advertising or designing you may want to get a bit creative with your resume. On the other hand, if you're applying for say an office, technical, or engineering job you're better off using a more professional and safe design.
- Determine what your industry focuses on and structure your resume around that.
- Be sure to triple-check your resume for spelling and grammatical errors.
Write a Career Summary Instead of an Objective
Instead of creative a generic sounding objective, put together a career summary. A career summary will give a short summary of who you are and what your profession is.
- A career summary will help you make a good first impression and get your foot in the door. You have 25 seconds to catch the hiring manager's attention, and the career summary can do exactly that.
- Develop a career summary that they simply cannot pass up. Describe yourself in a way where you sound as if you are the perfect solution to their problems.
Once you have assembled your resume, it's time to put it to work for you. The best way to meet your future employer is to network, especially if you're looking for a mid- to senior-level position. Begin reaching out to everyone you know as well as recruiters and professional contacts. You can contact people you've worked for, worked with, or did business with. By handing out a high-quality resume to various company professionals, you'll significantly increase your odds at getting the position you've been looking for.