How to Write a Powerful Resume!
Posted: Tue, Nov 5th, 2013 1:26:14 pm
Why do I need a resume?
A resume does two things:
1. Tells prospective employers what you can do for them
2. Proves you can do it better than anyone else
A powerful resume will bring results. The phone will ring and interviews will be set. Opportunities will be presented.
A powerful resume makes an immediate positive impact on its reader. It must, since the average recruiter will sometimes spend no more than one minute to decide whether or not to read on or stick it in a discard pile. Your resume may be one of 300 others. Most often, you do not have a second time to present yourself. Be as specific and as direct as possible about what you can do for them.
If your resume is a strong, accomplishment-driven example of your experience, it can open doors and lead you to great opportunities! If your resume is poorly written or boring, it won’t bring you the desired results.
When preparing your resume, remember to include the following:
Don’t forget your contact information. List your full name, address, phone number and email address. And above all, be absolutely sure it’s correct and up-to-date at all times. If you need to update anything, make corrections in advance of your submission. Do not hand-write corrections or updates under any circumstances!
Summary or Career Objective
It would be wise to stay away from objectives as they can limit your scope of opportunities. Instead, work at developing a summary of your experience. Your summary should be no more than one or two sentences. It is most effective to customize the summary to suit the demands of a specific opportunity. Be sure to match your skills, experience and education to their needs. Keep in mind to be honest at all times.
List your experience, chronologically, with your most recent job first. Include the employer’s name, city and state, along with dates of employment. List your job title. Outline your job duties and accomplishments in concise descriptions. Remember to:
a. Highlight your most important job responsibilities.
b. Use action phrases.
c. Incorporate tangible results when listing your accomplishments. Quantify your achievements with percentages or numbers like “increased customer enrollment by 30 percent” or “managed three-person project team.”
d. Use bullet points to draw attention to your achievements.
e. Keep tenses appropriate! For current position, use present tense such as, “Answer phones.” For previous positions, use past tense, for example, “Answered phones.”
f. Do not be repetitive! It can be boring and turn off the reader.
List your most recent education first and work backward. List your degree, major, minor, dates of attendance, name of school. Also list your GPA if it is a 3.0 or higher. Include high school information only if you have no college or university credit. If you are applying to a position that specifically requires a certain degree or are a recent graduate with little (or no) work experience, it would be best to list your education immediately after your summary. Otherwise, education should be listed after work experience on your resume.
Skills & Expertise
Be sure to list your technical and computer skills. List software programs, operating systems, (and any programming languages), you’ve used, as well as professional certifications you have earned. Also be sure to highlight “soft skills” like foreign languages. It’s a good idea to include memberships in professional organizations, as it shows you’re serious about your career. We recommend that you not list your hobbies or include personal information, such as marital status, number of children, etc. By doing so, you may be subjecting yourself to your prospective employer’s judgment.
You don’t need to waste valuable space on references. Most employers will ask for them later. However, if you need to fill an empty space at the bottom of your page, go ahead and put “References are available upon request.” Prepare a separate sheet listing three to five professional references. Hold onto this information until you are asked to provide it.
Some Resume Disasters to Stay Away From…
Never lie about job titles, dates of employment, and awards. Don’t inflate statistics or percentages when speaking of accomplishments. Don’t falsify college or grad school degrees. Background checks are commonplace in this market. Honesty is always the best policy!
Deal with Inconsistencies
Job-hopping or changes in your career may raise red flags about your ability to maintain stability within an organization. Although we highly recommend that you present your resume in chronological form, if you have inconsistencies in your work history, it may be in your best interest to group these positions by category (a functional resume). List the category, for example “Customer Service” and then present the related work experience. Then list the next category “Sales” with its related job information. Keep in mind that some recruiters and potential employers tend to view functional resumes as red flags!
Keep your resume to one or two pages in length
If you ramble on and on about yourself for three or four pages, or use wordy paragraphs to describe your responsibilities in a job, your resume may be passed over. Be concise. Break up the information with bullets to highlight special accomplishments or responsibilities that are specific to the position for which you are applying. Be brief but powerful!
Never use the pronoun “I” when writing your resume
Resumes should be written in the third person. Rather than “I was responsible for the day-to-day accounting functions of a busy manufacturing plant,” try, “Managed day-to-day accounting functions for $2M manufacturing plant.”
Proofread your resume before it goes anywhere!
Your resume is a valuable tool only if you treat it like one. If it is presented to a company with typographical errors, you are presenting a personal image that few prospective employers will look upon favorably. It’s a really good idea to have another person proof read your resume. Another set of eyes will often pick up an error that you have missed.