I just started a new consulting job helping my client screen resumes and interview people for an opening they want to fill ASAP. As I begin to look at resumes from which I hope to uncover the absolutely perfect fit for the job, I already see way too many resumes that are not representing their owners as well as they could.
OK. Let me be blunt. Some of these resumes are horrible. And I worry that people just don’t realize how important their resume is to their job search. The bad ones get tossed, and, since you never hear any feedback, you’ll never realize to what extent you can help increase the number of “yeses” just by upping your resume game.
Please don’t sell yourself short. Your resume is your calling card. It often is given no more than 8 seconds to get someone’s attention and hopefully get you to that all-important interview. Not only should your resume be well-organized and attractive, it needs to zero in on what makes YOU special for this particular job.
A few things you can do to make your resume stand out
- Tailor your resume to each job; even a few small tweaks help
- Highlight special skills that especially match THIS job
- Use action words such as Created, Led, Initiated, Managed, Produced, Developed, etc. to show that you can make things happen
- Focus on accomplishments that show your unique contributions and not just the basic job requirements
- Make sure the resume reflects who you are and what you can add to a company
- If there are gaps, find a way to explain them that makes you look good
- Use sample resumes to give your resume pizazz. (You can find some on Susan Ireland’s site.)
Take a good hard look at your resume. See it as if you were seeing it for the first time. Is this the very best statement you can make about yourself? Does it paint a picture the company wants to see more of? Is there anything – even something as simple as different type fonts or the use of bold – that might make it really pop?
I’m looking at some resumes right now whose owners I wish knew just how little they tell me and how poor appearance they make. Oh…I know these might be great people, but since I can’t interview all of them, I’ll never know from the resumes I have in front of me.
That’s why I’m writing this. So you can be one of the few who stand out from the crowd. If I there is one thing you need to know, it’s that your resume really matters. And so does your cover letter!
Tips on resumes and cover letters:
Here basic information about both do-it-yourself resumes and paid resume services, including a link to a post that has some more detailed advice:
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Although I had to stop answering individual questions (to preserve my sanity), your thoughts and stories are VERY welcome here.