Most resumes only get a short review from human resources or the hiring manager, maybe only 10-15 seconds. You’ll want yours to stand apart from the others and there are five areas that should get attention: Accomplishments, Focus, Core Competencies, transferable skills, and work history.
Whether the recipient of your resume works for one corporation or represents many corporate clients, they must be able to give valid reasons for promoting you as a viable candidate. It is in your best career interest to make their job infinitely easier by including the information they need to elevate your resume to the top of the candidate pile.
Review these tips to help assess, with a critical eye, your resume to create a stellar first impression.
Be Positive and Bold
Make sure you’ve added your positive qualities to the summary. Tenacious? Loyal? Committed to quality? Strong attention to detail? These are the attributes a prospective employer WANTS to know. Make mention of your “intangible skills” to effectively capture your abilities and work style.
Consider Your Audience
Many people throw every minute detail on a resume, hoping interviewers will interpret their qualifications. It is best, however, to speak directly to your audience by focusing on the specific career goals and portray those credentials which will win you the interview. You may need more than one version.
Use Facts and Figures
If you were instrumental in turning around a particular situation in a previous employment capacity – make it known. If you’re known as someone who “thinks outside of the box” and puts forth innovation, let your interviewer understand how with numbers. Which of the following statements conveys tangible accomplishments? “Provided outside sales support for large client base”, or “Secured an additional 26% of incoming business by cultivating opportunities with existing client base.” Convert your accomplishments to figures whenever possible.
You may opt to skip the standard objective statement in favor of a summary that shows what you bring to the table for the prospective employer. Instead of what you’d like to reap from the company, try stating what you can do for the company. Along the lines of “Innovative, customer-focused sales support with demonstrated ability to implement an up-sell program to existing and new clients to improve overall customer service standards.” Use short, to the point sentence fragments. Time is at a premium, your career focus should be concisely apparent within seconds of the potential employer opening your resume. Most interviewers consider Career Objective Statements worthless if they contain no real information about the specific position you are looking for and the industry expertise you offer. Make sure you are concise and to the point.
Tell Your Story In A Concise Manner
Once the reader understands your focus, they will want to know if you have the required core competencies or transferable skills to accomplish the job. Review the job description presented by the employer to help you identify the core competencies your resume must feature. Clarity matters! Don’t turn your resume into a novel.
A resume has no hard rules or optimum length, but most prospective employers will only focus on the previous 5 to 10 years of work history. Provide detail on recent positions, older jobs can be summarized under the heading “Early Career.”
State Your “Other” Experience or Community Involvement
Community involvement, volunteer jobs, internships or part-time employment can be useful in covering work history gaps. Many of these activities involve the same organizational expertise, ability to multi-task and people skills that a “regular” job does.
Get Feedback From Peers
Show your resume to others in your field, as they may be able to point out missing skills or other important feedback.
Don’t count on your computer program’s grammar or spellchecker to ensure that your resume is clear, concise and free of spelling errors. Again, ask someone to review your final product.