Your resume is an integral part of “you.” These helpful tips for formulating, updating and submitting your resume could be the clincher in your next career move!
Just how old IS your resume? If you haven’t been on a job hunt for a number of years, chances are your resume is outdated and may contain content not relevant to your current career strategy. Part-time college jobs or mention of an obsolete computer application from years past may no longer be necessary to fill in your now-tenured resume.
Listed below are some suggestions that could “save” your resume. And if in complete bafflement, you can always rely on our professional resume writing alliance partner, Haute Resume and Career Services.
In today’s world of technology and with everyone having some access to personal computers, you can easily tailor your resume to each potential employer. Using a standard program such as Microsoft Word to create your resume insures easy changes as well as allowing the document to be easily opened if submitted electronically. Using common font styles such as Arial and Times Roman makes your document readable. Avoid excessive graphics, clip art, cells or tables—that’s just confusing.
Your “form” is very important. A “reader friendly” resume allows the viewer to quickly skim and hone in on pertinent information. Adhere to today’s standard chronological order, listing contributions/accomplishments as well as responsibilities. A hiring manager cares most about your current or most recent one or two positions. Detail how your efforts have increased “the bottom line” and tout your capabilities in your area of expertise. In today’s economy, it’s important to illustrate how any significant effort that impacts profitability is worth mentioning.
How you say gives your resume “legs”—so say it with impact! Remember to be powerful with something simple such as “reduced training and development costs by 20 percent, while maintaining the quality of training provided to employees.” A boring approach is stating the obvious with “managing a budget of $200,000 annually for training and development.”
Tailor your resume to each potential employer. Utilize position titles that are easily recognized industry-wide. Emphasize the skills and attributes that an employer is seeking. Effective use of white space and bullet points allow information to “stand out” and grab the eye.
If your resume has frequent or large gaps in employment history, a combination resume emphasizes skills and accomplishments while downplaying previous positions and dates of employment. Instead of having your employment section as the bulk of the resume, sub-section details such as “Management Skills” or “Computer Skills” and place towards the end of the document.
Duplicating, conflicting or overlapping jobs, such as listing a weekend secondary job also may conflict with the ultimate goal of the career you are pursuing and can send a contradictory message. Never list overlapping jobs to make up for what you feel might be a shortcoming in your “day job.” This becomes confusing to the reader.
If you are submitting an electronic resume, use a standard program such as Microsoft Word to insure that it can be opened. The majority of resumes today include an email address. Use a conventional email address, such as your name, i.e. firstname.lastname@example.org is NOT conventional or acceptable in today’s job market.
Cluttered appearance and an overly lengthy resume are turn-offs. Most executive level positions can be contained within a two-three page resume. If a resume is difficult to read or unattractive in appearance, the reader will easily give up. Using bullet lists and breaking into smaller paragraphs that highlight strengths and features of skills will maintain interest.
Cut the personal information! Today’s resumes do NOT disclose irrelevant personal information. Your health or height is definitely “TMI”—too much information! Stick with interests valid to the position, such as community and volunteer efforts and organizations.
Never split your contact information so your name is at the top while forcing the remaining pertinent information to the bottom of the document. If someone has to search for an email address or phone number, your resume may not get a second glance.
Use a cover letter to your best advantage. Today’s job seekers may have extended gaps due to current economic conditions or staying at home for family purposes. The cover letter helps you address any concerns an employer may have with the gaps on your resume. Explain how you’ve kept your skills current, whether it may be through volunteer or organization work, consulting or temporary activities, or professional development curriculum.
Lastly, check and recheck your resume and cover letter for errors! One typographical or grammatical error is too many. Mistakes can cost you being in contention for a position. Errors immediately signal a lack of attention to detail and professionalism. Have a fresh pair of “eyes” review your information.