In today's fast-paced and competitive job market, a well-constructed resume is an important factor in getting a job. Some studies show that many prospective employers spend about 20 seconds looking at a resume. This means you need an outstanding resume to hold a prospective employer's attention. Writing a resume that does this is the most effective way to help you secure the job you're looking for.
1. Start with a clearly stated job objective or background summary. An objective works best when you can be specific as to the type of position you are looking for. If you are flexible and can consider several types of positions, the background summary may be the best way to highlight your skills and abilities.
Position as a Controller utilizing successful accounting and managerial experience.
Experienced manager with excellent team abilities and strong leadership skills. Enthusiastic, highly motivated and can be counted on to get the job done. Excellent communication skills with the ability to relate to all levels within an organization.
(Note: Change the objective and/or background summary to fit the position for which your are applying.)
2. A good resume sets forth your accomplishments. It should not be a list of job duties. Employers want to know what can do for them and how you have contributed in your previous positions. Begin each statement with an action verb and provided quantifiable information whenever possible:
Increased sales by ___% each quarter for the past two years.
Developed a ___________program resulting in savings of $__________.
Served as team leader on a project which resulted in cost savings of $________.
Designed and implemented a performance appraisal program for six locations.
3. It is not necessary to list every job you have ever had. Employers are most concerned about what you’ve done recently and not what you did fifteen years ago. Listing many years of work experience could be a liability in competing with younger workers.
4. Do not list hobbies or outside interests unless they have a direct correlation to the skills and abilities an employer is seeking.
The following could raise a red flag with an employer:
Hobbies; skydiving, racing – employer may consider you an insurance risk
However, if you a volunteer for a hospice program and you are applying to a social service agency, this could be a plus.
5. There is nothing magic about a one-page resume. In fact, if you have been in the workforce for any length of time, it would be impossible to communicate everything you have to offer in one page. Try not to go beyond two pages or your resume might not get read.
6. DO NOT FALSIFY your work history or education. More employers than ever are doing background checks and you will not get hired if you are found to be dishonest. The employer can terminate you at anytime if they find out your application and/or resume was false.
7. Use a quality bond paper, white, cream or grey. Don’t get cute or fancy with bold colors or graphics unless you are applying for a position in the arts. Do not include a picture!
8. Do not overuse bolding, underlining or mix fonts. Make sure your resume is easy to read and has lots of white space. Check and double check for spelling and typos. Using spell check is not full proof. For example, if you use the word their when you really meant there, spell check would not pick this up as the word is not misspelled. Have two or three people proof your resume. After you’ve been working on it awhile, you can easily miss something.
9. Make sure your contact information at the top of your resume is current. If you are using your cell phone, be sure your voice mail message is professional! You will definitely turn a recruiter off if your voice mail is offensive. When job hunting, do not have little children on your voice mail.
10. Seek professional help if you do not have good writing skills. It is well worth the cost as you only have one chance to make a good first impression.
One final piece of advice! When sending out your resume, you increase your chances of getting an interview if your cover letter specifically addresses how your background and skills match what the company is looking for. Do not use a one-size-fits-all cover letter. It will be obvious to the recruiter. Do your research and find out something about the company. You will truly stand out if you do this as most people don’t take the time to go that extra step.
Helpful Tip: Resume Action Words
The job interview is the single most important part of getting a job. The job interview is your opportunity to really showcase your skills and leave a positive first impression of yourself. The following tips will increase your chances of interviewing success.
1. Be punctual.If necessary, drive to the interview location the day before to ensure you know how to get there.
2. Prepare for the interview.Research the company and its products and services, and make sure you know the company’s correct name. Stating the wrong name probably won’t earn you a second interview.
3. Relax and be yourself.So many times, people stress over a job interview. Your best bet is to be the best, professional version of yourself, and look at an interview as an adventure. You are likely to learn something new and useful, even if you aren’t the right person for the job.
4. Smile and be friendly.An interview is not the time to be shy. A warm smile goes a long way toward establishing a good first impression and rapport with the interviewer.
5. Use a firm handshake and direct eye contact.A limp handshake or lack of eye contact can make you appear ill-at-ease and possibly less than honest.
6. Bring copies of your resume and portfolio.Interviewers don’t always have a copy of your resume available and you will seem ultra-prepared if you have extras. A leather portfolio containing samples of your work is also impressive. Of course, the type of job you are applying for dictates what goes in your portfolio.
7. Look the part.You want your potential employer to be able to visualize you in the role. Good grooming and professional appearance are important. Even if you know the office is typically business casual, a well-fitting suit makes an excellent first impression.
8. Ask questions.Make sure you have prepared a few questions ahead of time. Typically, interviewers gauge your interest in the position by whether you ask questions.
9. Bring a planner or pad of paper and a pen.This way, you can take notes or even write down your questions if you tend to get nervous.
10. Write a thank-you note.Make sure you get business cards from every person who interviews you and send a handwritten note to each one. Make sure you spell their names correctly. So few people write thank-you notes that this alone will create a positive impression.