A Good Resume Gets the Interview
When an individual comes to me seeking a job, and after I determine his or her career goals, the next thing I want to do is review his or her resume. The resume is the most important marketing tool one could have in the job search for an obvious reason: it may be the only information the employer has on you. Therefore, it could stand between you and an interview.
When adjusting your resume for that perfect job, put yourself in the shoes of the recruiter. With the job market being so competitive, employers can have twice the normal number of resumes to review for each opening and less time to review them. So what can you do to make your resume an attention grabber? And when you complete your resume, answer the question, “Would I hire me?”
1.) Tailor your resume to a specific or hypothetical job description. Oftentimes, and particularly at larger organizations, your resume is pre-screened by human resources professionals, and the only method they have to determine whether your qualifications are a fit is comparing your resume to the job description. Appropriately use key words from the job description in your bullets under work experience. Have your jobs speak to your accomplishments and quantify your results when possible. For instance, “Effectively managed a budget of more than $650,000 for three departments, including salaries and operating expenses.”
2.) Create a profile section on your resume. This section could include a summary statement of your relevant experience, background and skills. It could also communicate your career goals. I have recommended that people also include a section to highlight specific strengths or areas of expertise in a list or bullet format. Here you can use key words from your chosen job description that might include things like, “Six Sigma certified, in-depth knowledge of employment law, change manager, etc.” The profile area could take up to 25 percent of your first page. Be careful, though — if you add a profile area, make sure you back up your claims with bullets to showcase your work.
3.) Keep the resume to one page if possible, and make very good use of the white space. One myth about resumes is that employers want a lot of white space on resumes. Not true. Employers want to see that you are accomplished and have relevant work experience. Fill the resume with good quality information. If you have five or more years of professional experience, a two-page resume is acceptable.
4.) Give your resume a professional aesthetic. Reference resume booklets for a professional style and layout appealing to you and one that might get the attention of others. More importantly, have someone proof it for content, style and grammatical errors. The more time you put into the resume up front, the better the response rate from employers!