Your resume is the first point of contact between you and a potential employer. This is often the only opportunity they will have to get to know you and your skill set. The reality is: you don't have a lot of time to impress the reader as they spend about 10 seconds looking at each resume. So not only do you have to make a great first impression, you have to do it fast. Here's how to create a compelling, concise resume that makes an immediate positive impression:
1. Make sure your resume is reader-friendly.
2. Include a brief summary of qualifications.
Your resume's design is just as important as the content. Be sure to format your resume using a standard font size/type, appropriate spacing, bullets to highlight accomplishments and lines to separate major sections. Allow at least a one inch margin all around the page. Watch this short video clip for more formatting tips
(for experienced professionals)
Remember to tailor your resume for each opportunity by highlighting key achievements and qualifications that relate specifically to the position. Often this may be as simple as reordering bullet points to emphasize certain skills and expertise. In addition, include terms you find in the job description. If you're applying for a junior graphic designer position and the advertisement for the job includes "project manager" and "experienced with corporate clients," integrate those phrases into your resume (as long as they're true, of course!). Many companies electronically screen resumes for keywords, so you can boost your visibility by adopting any applicable phrases.
3. Highlight the skills that are important to the job you are applying for.
Rather than just listing your skills like checklisted items, it's more effective to use a technique like the S-A-R (Situation - Action - Result) framework to describe your accomplishments. You can read more about how to use the S-A-R framework
4. Quantify everything you have done, wherever possible.
Numbers demonstrate impact. Use numbers to show how many people you managed, how much money you saved and how many clients you served. If you have reduced expenses, indicate how much or list the percentage of reduction. Remember to ask yourself how you helped the organization, and describe the result by using numbers.
5. Proofread, proofread and proofread more!
The resume is a living document that continually represents your working experiences. Be really thorough about proofreading your resume. Nothing is worse than finding typos or grammatical mistakes in a resume. It may help to print a copy of your resume to read through a few times. Put it down and look at it again after a couple of hours, then ask a friend to read it over as well. Leave no room for error.
1. Remove the Objective from your resume.
There really isn't a point to having one, besides getting the job. This is valuable real estate at the tip of your resume and would be more effective used for a professional profile, or a summary of your qualifications. If you believe in stating your career objective you can include that in your cover letter. Read Ron's advice on Removing the Objective
from your resume.
2. Don't include personal information.
It's not necessary to include personal information such as age, race, marital status, height/weight and religious/political affiliations on a resume. Stick to professional experiences and what skills you bring to the table.
3. Don't be too repetitive.
Avoid repeating the same action verbs throughout the resume. Bust out your thesaurus and mix in different terms to describe your achievements.
4. Don't lie.
This is obvious, but lying is unacceptable on a resume. Don't fudge dates or titles on your resume to conceal the fact that you have gaps in your history, have been unemployed, that you switched jobs too frequently or that you held low-level positions. More and more employers are using background checks as part of the screening process and if you are caught in a lie, you will be automatically disqualified for the job.
5. Don't list references on your resume.
It is not necessary to provide references until a later stage of the recruiting process, when they are specifically requested by the employer.
A well-crafted resume is the key to a great first impression with potential employers. Once you have the do's and don'ts down, you'll be one step closer to landing the position you want.