Before PC’s became readily accessible, job seekers would have resumes printed by professional print shops on pricey stationery. Given the expense, that document would be sent out over and over again. It probably would be updated only when the copies on hand were exhausted or due to a material event.
Not anymore. In today’s electronic world, not only should a resume be current it should be tailored for the job position in consideration. Therefore, a resume should no longer be regarded as a static document. To me, it makes a lot of sense. Think of yourself as an HR manager having to review hundreds of job applications and resumes. Would you be inclined to analyze a host of generic resumes trying to figure out if it fits what you are looking for? Probably not. A ” one size fits all” also gives the impression that the job seeker is simply sending out resumes to everything in sight hoping that one of them might just “stick on the wall” somewhere.
Although not everyone is apt to agree with me, I feel that an objective statement at the top indicating the type of position desired (such as a software engineer, teacher, or electrician, etc.) is a good thing. To me, it frames the resume and sets the stage for the sections of text that follow.
Of course, aim to mirror the keywords expressed in the job description or job posting. That’s a given. I would read through your existing resume focusing on which elements or points are still relevant. Where possible, I would address each accomplishment and/or skill to see if each one could be modified or augmented to fit, inserting keywords used in the industry. If you need help, public libraries offer a host of resume books that showcase resumes for different job positions, industries and varying levels of experience and situations. In addition, the web site, careeronestop, contains a database of occupations with descriptions of required skills, knowledge, education, likely tasks, activities. It’s a useful aid when preparing or updating a resume.
Lastly, don’t be afraid to try out different resumes. Whichever one gets the interview and the job will be the right one.
Your resume is you primary marketing piece. In most cases, it’s your main opportunity to entice a potential employer to find out more about you. Since it needs to be concise, preferably on one page, you don’t have a lot of space to convey why someone should consider hiring you.
Use action verbs to describe your accomplishments, skills and job responsbilities. Some examples are “produce, create, develop, conduct, design, construct, present, organized, etc. In other words, “you developed a program”, or “you organized the workflow”. If you can express your accomplishments in terms of dollar savings or an increase in profits, that’s in even better. Employers are looking for people who can contribute to the “bottom line”. “Designed a system that saved $500,000 per year in utilities costs” should catch the eye of a employer looking for somone who is creative.
Don’t be in a hurry to get any old resume out the door. Work on it, put it aside and revisit it a day or two later. Let a person whose opinion you value critique it for you. A fresh pair of eyes can be more objective. Lastly, make sure you have eliminated spelling and grammatical errors. Such errors may drop you from the competition immediately.
So, make your resume sparkle!
When you write a resume, keep in mind that your goal is to sell yourself . So, do regard it as a marketing brochure. A recruiter or HR manager reviewing lots of candidates may only have seconds to give your piece a “yes” or “no”. The message should be clear and succinct. It should be focused and directed at the skills and requirements for the job.
Express the job you want in an “Objective” statement at the top. Some people may disagree. Otherwise, the reader may have to guess what you are seeking or how you might fit into the organization. That’s not a good idea in my opinion.
Do sell yourself for the job you are applying for. Wordprocessing software makes it easy to tailor a resume for a specific job. Particularly when you are applying for a job online, make sure you include the same or similar words that are presented in the requirements for the job. In that way, your likelihood of being selected in the initial round, should be increased.
It’s important to emphasize your relevant accomplishments and if you can, mention cost savings, efficiencies, benefits, etc. Discussing how you had a positive impact on the “bottom line” is a good thing.
Use action verbs and vary them. When using electronic templates such as Optimal Resume or Career Transitions (available at Arapahoe Library District by the way), they have built in tools to help you with the selection of verbs. Otherwise, a thesaurus will work just fine.
It should not be too lengthy especially, when a reviewer may not have the time to spend. Provide work experience going back no more than 10 years. Other experience and accomplishments can be summarized. A one page resume is recommended.
Lastly, omit references. Your key contacts can be provided later. It’s a good idea to notify your references when you know they may be called. In that way, you can brief them about the job for which you are being considered. Plus, you may want to select different references for different jobs based on their knowledge about you.
Above all, don’t be hasty in crafting a resume for it represents what a prospective employer will initially perceive about you. Spend some time editing and re-editing. Allow others to objectively review it. Otherwise, you may not get beyond first base.
Writing a resume or even updating one, can be a daunting task. It’s something you have to do but few enjoy doing, right?
Remember that it should be your marketing or advertising piece. Just imagine the recruiter or human resource manager who has to narrow down a stack of 100 resumes (or more) to a dozen or less candidates to interview. With so much reading to do, you won’t have much time to draw them in. So, gone are the days, when an applicant could throw a resume together quickly and get an interview. With so much competition, without a doubt the most appealing and/or eye-catching resumes are going to be selected from the pile.
Luckily, there are lots of great resources to help you with tips on format, style, action verbs, and more. Your local public has easy-to-use online tools that you can even access from home with a library card. Here are the ones we have at Arapahoe Library District: Learning Express, Career Transitions and Optimal Resume, from the most basic to the more sophisticated. Each one is “wizard-driven” and all you have to do is input the content. Not sure, whether to use a chronological or functional format? These resources will help you make that decision as well.
Don’t forget that the library still has books to be checked out with samples of resumes for different types of positions from engineering to nursing. Of course, you can always type a resume yourself using wordprocessing software such as Microsoft Word. Word has built-in or downloadable templates you can use.
So, goahead and ut your best foot forward. Let your askills and accomplishments and shine.
Who out there likes writing resumes? You have to promote yourself and it can feel like boasting. Plus, you have to decide on a layout and then, you have to type it with word processing software such as Microsoft Word. If you are not a great typist it probably won’t be much fun.
So, if you need to write a resume quickly and you are not particularly adept at using Microsoft Word, don’t despare. Chances are , your local library may have some online tools to assist you. At Arapahoe Library District, in south Metro Denver, we have three online resources that can make putting together a resume nearly a breeze. With a library card, they are free to use at the library or anywhere with a computer and Internet access.
Learning Express* has the simplist resume builder and you can crank out a very basic resume in very little time at all. The downside is that you should expect a no-frills document.
Career Transitions*, is another option. It’s got some bells and whistles to it, such as different resume format options, with tips and articles to help you complete each section.
Optimal Resume*, is a sophisticated choice with options to create a video, website as well as a standard print document. In addition to tutorials, tips and samples, it can also assist you with identifying the best action verbs. Once your final product is complete, it can be downloaded into a variety of formats or it can be uploaded for potential employers to view online.
Check out your local library and chances are at least one of these tools might be available for you to use.
*Links to the actual provider of these tools for background information. To use them, you will most likely need to go to your local library.