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First impressions on paper: 3 Tips for resume success!
A professional resume is the written equivalent to a 30-second commercial. A potential employer will make several assumptions based on a quick glance over your resume. In a nutshell, your resume must answer the “who, what, where, when, and why” questions. Who are you? What have you accomplished? Where have you worked and when? How did you accomplish goals and objectives? Why should we hire you? Many companies utilize software programs to pre-screen resumes for key terms and phrases before even considering you as a candidate. An effective resume communicates that YOU are the best candidate for the job and YOU will be a valuable asset to any employer. Based on your current resume, are they “buying what you’re selling?”
Begin with the end in mind. What is the primary objective for your resume? A promotion? A career change? A new job? Start with a user-friendly resume template. Free resume templates are available and can be tailored to fit a specific industry and personal content. Do not reinvent the wheel! Utilize your resources.
Helpful Hint: Stick with one format. For example, do not utilize paragraphs in one section and a bulleted list in another. Employers want to see effectively organized thoughts, ideas, and information. Is the format easy to read and aesthetically pleasing to the eye? Does it reflect a positive “snapshot” of you as a candidate for the job? Does the file transfer to ?
A clear and concise resume can move your application from the “maybe” stack to the “interview” stack among hundreds of other qualified candidates. Just as a television commercial markets a product’s unique features and important benefits in a short period of time. Reduce white space by combining bullet points and deleting insignificant details. Create the “Goldilocks” resume. . . Not too short or too long. . . Just right.
Helpful Hint: Highlight key accomplishments, awards and achievements. The employer does not need a job description or a laundry list of responsibilities. Ideally, a resume should be a single page document especially recent graduates and entry-level professionals. However, a two-page resume is acceptable for more than 10 years of experience and/or advanced degree. Three-page resumes should be reserved for academic positions listing publications and senior level executives with significant leadership skills and achievements.
While it may be tempting to “spice” up your professional experience with a few enhancements or exaggerated details, it is always best to be honest. Be accurate and specific about dates of employment, education, job title, and responsibilities.
A resume is a formal document. Correct spelling is imperative! Assume that your resume will be forwarded to the president of the company. Spell check can catch many spelling errors, but it is always helpful to seek professional editing advice.
Helpful Hint: You never know who is reviewing your resume, especially when applying for a position within the same industry. A former colleague, manager, or counterpart could have a significant impact on a whether or not you proceed through the hiring process. You never get a second chance to demonstrate integrity or accountability.