Resumes are to job seeking as tires are to cars. They are a core component to helping move you forward. They need regular updating and maintenance, and there is no such thing as one-size-fits-all. Knowing this, what can you do to ensure that your resume is working for you?
Less is More
One of the most common misconceptions about resumes is that they should be an exhaustive list of all your accomplishments and professional history. In actuality, a resume should be a brief advertisement that creates just enough intrigue for the reader to call you in for an interview. When preparing a resume you want to be clear, succinct, and focus on the past 10 years of work experience. Naturally, you want to highlight all of your accomplishments to help you showcase all that you bring to the table, but the reality is that less is more, and paring your resume down to no more than two pages is going to help ensure that your resume is more likely to be well-received.
You may wonder how you can stand out in a stack of 8.5 x 11in sheets of paper that all look the same – well, it is important to note that gimmicks are unlikely to help. When developing your resume, it is best to stick with traditional formatting. While you want to be noticed, stand out, and be remembered – you want that to happen for all the right reasons. Avoid using flashy fonts, colors, and images, and have trust that the content is what makes a difference.
Keep it Relevant
When preparing your resume, you should always design it for the reader. While you want to showcase your talents and skills, you must consider which of your many talents is most relevant to the job you are applying to, and the person reviewing your resume. Due to the sheer volume of resumes that an employer receives for any given position, chances are they are quickly scanning through them, seeking out certain keywords to narrow the stack down to just a couple that they are interested in speaking with. By focusing only on your relevant skills, you are greatly increasing the likelihood of being moved into the ‘yes’ pile.
It used to be that all resumes contained a section at the top called the objective. This was a simple section where an applicant would describe their career interests and goals. While a feel-good section, ultimately it never really spoke to the employer. It is said that you need to capture the reader’s attention in the first 3rd of your resume – and the best way to do that is by including a brief qualifications summary. This is where you can immediately call attention to why they should read on and consider you for the job.
It seems that something so simple shouldn’t need to be said, but proofreading is a critical step in the resume process. Not only should you be reviewing your resume for spelling, grammar, punctuation, and relevancy – you should also rely on a trusted friend to proofread for you as well. Having that second set of eyes can make a world of difference. When someone proofreads their own writing it is easy to miss something important because you are prone to focus more on what your thoughts are versus the actual mechanics of what was written. In addition to proofreading for traditional errors, you also want to double-check that you have provided accurate and appropriate contact information.
Would You Call Yourself To Interview?
In closing, before you hit send, ask yourself – “would I call myself in for an interview?” If for any reason you are hesitant to say yes, that may signal that you need to make some adjustments to the content of your resume or possibly consider if this job is even a good fit. Remember, not every job is right for every person. Your goal is to seek out and apply to jobs that you can be successful in.