A resume is not likely to land you a job, but it is a critical step in being considered. Flawless execution is expected. Don’t give the hiring manager any reason to move your resume immediately to the “reject” pile.
What a Resume Is and Isn’t – A resume is a summary of your professional experience, education and skills. It should focus on accomplishments. A resume is not a summary of your job responsibilities for each position you’ve held.
Formatting Matters – For an initial resume review it is likely that someone will spend less than a minute reviewing your resume. If you want them to spend more time and really see what you have to offer, it needs to be concise, easy to read and the key information must be easy to find. Your resume should not exceed one page unless you have more than seven years of experience. Be sure you use white space to keep it visually appealing. You must have your contact information – address, email and telephone – so they can easily reach you if they are interested. You should always use a professional looking email address with just your name – avoid cute nicknames etc. when job searching. Quickest path to the reject pile is typos or grammatical errors. Be sure to proof your resume and carefully and have someone else proof it as well.
Open Strong – They first thing they read should give them a quick sense of who you are and what you could do for them. I strongly recommend starting with a summary statement focused on your key transferable skills and core competencies. Whenever possible, focus on key words from the job description. The summary gives the reader a lens through which they read the rest of your resume. Catch their attention from their first glance. Employers I work with find a summary statement preferable to an objective. Often job seekers have specific objectives that do not relate to the job they are applying for.
Core Competencies – Highlight the key transferrable skills you bring to the table. Where possible, focus on your core competencies that tie to the employer needs in the job description. Focus on the strengths you bring to the position. Make them want to read more.
Honesty is the best and only policy – A resume is the factual history of your work experience. Do not embellish or over-state your accomplishments or responsibilities. Employers value integrity and you demonstrate that by being honest and forthright in all your interactions, starting with your resume. Many companies will use outside firms to perform verifications with prior employers and schools.
In the early stages of the recruiting the process, your resume is you. It needs to represent you professionally and accurately so they will want to know more about you. While you resume will not likely land you the job, it needs to catch their attention so you will advance in the process.
Watch future postings for additional resume tips.