The resume is probably the most important tool you have to sell yourself to a future employer. While you may meet all the required skills necessary to succeed in a particular job position, it is of no use to you if an employer decides to reject your resume. You have about 30 seconds to impress your employer before he/she decides whether to pursue your application.
So how do you create a resume that gives you every chance of success?
First of all, an effective resume needs to be job specific. It needs to meet the employer’s stated requirements for the position posted. It is important that you recognise what skills and experiences are necessary for a particular job and highlight those in your resume.
A resume is a clearly laid out document that highlights your achievements, skills and experience. Ideally you need to tell the whole story on page one by providing a short career summary or profile, 3 major achievements, a list of your key skills and a table of work history showing company, position and duration.
Below are some features of a great resume and something to look out for when writing your own resume.
Contact Details: Write your resume in Microsoft word format, and include your contact details in the header of the document. Ensure you include: name, address, telephone numbers and email address. Make sure your email address is professional, such as email@example.com not firstname.lastname@example.org.
Targeted: The more targeted a resume is the more chances you have of getting that interview. Employers want to know exactly what you can do for the company. It is important that you tailor each resume to each job (it will only take a few sentence to do this). Get rid of any information that is not required for a particular job. This will alleviate the tendency to overcrowd your resume with too much non-related information.
Well written: It is important that your resume makes an impression with the employer. Use action words, such as, established, implemented, created and streamlined. This will add that extra boost to your resume.
Consistent: Be sure that your resume is logical and easy to read. Be consistent with everything, such as the spacing, margins and borders. You should emphasise your important points with text styles such as a different font, italic or underlining.
Achievements: When describing your achievements, make use of numbers, $$’s, %’s etc. as you and your managers are measured by numbers and numbers sell.
Employment history: Start with your current (or most recent) job and work backwards in time to your first job. Include in the outline of each job:
- Date started and finished.
- Job Title.
- Brief list of responsibilities.
- Your major achievements
Self-promoting: Don’t be shy; show your employer your accomplishments, skills and abilities. Employers want to see that you can indeed perform the job at hand. Show them by letting them know the results you have achieved that had a significant impact on the business you worked for, and how others have benefited from your productivity.
Gaps in your Resume: If you took time off for a six month holiday make sure you include this in your resume. If you include gaps this could send off alarm bells to the reader of your resume.
Summarised Qualifications: The job objective or summary of qualifications will point out your top selling points. (Qualification, then Institution then date).
No personal stuff: Personal data such as height and weight, number of children, etc. is unnecessary and seen as unprofessional. If you want to, include interests and out of work achievements as you think appropriate.
References: Don’t list people who have agreed to give you a reference. State at the end of your resume “References available upon request.” If you are successful at interview then your interviewer/recruiter will obtain the references when needed.
Grammatically correct: Poor grammar is the quickest way for your resume to end up in the ‘rejection pile’ – run the spell check on your computer and then read every word yourself and get someone to read it as well. Spelling mistakes and typos suggest that your standard of work will be as rushed as your resume appears. First impressions count.