Successful job seekers ensure their efforts get the best results by making every aspect of their job hunt as polished as it can be – and that means putting their best foot forward with top-quality resumes.
Here are the top 5 resume-writing tips.
A resume doesn’t have to be just a list of everything you’ve ever done in the order that you’ve done it.
That’s the chronological format. While some employers do insist on this format – mostly because it’s easy for their automated resume software to scan – it’s not necessarily best for showcasing your strengths.
There are three other formats.
A functional resume lets you put the emphasis on your education and skills. That’s particularly good for people who have had gaps in their employment history, such as people returning to the job market after taking a few years off for a special project or to raise children.
Combination resumes blend the chronological format and the function resume format and are great for people with a lot of employment experience who are changing careers, like senior execs making moves into different career options.
Arguably, every resume these days should include at least some aspects of the targeted resume format. These resumes use keywords from the job posting itself to ensure the resume will not be ditched by automated resume scanning software before it even gets to a real human being capable of making a hiring decision.
Giants in the retail industry become trusted brands in large part because they are consistent in their offerings of products and services. Resumes need to reflect that same commitment to consistency.
Whatever format a job seeker chooses for his or her resume, it’s important to maintain the same formatting throughout the document. If headlines are bold or in a bigger font size, they should all be in the same font size and bold.
A good way to project consistency and dependability is to have each position listed with a title, place of employment, location, and the starting and end dates. When a resume’s formatting is consistent – and it is free of spelling and grammatical mistakes – this projects professionalism and a commitment to detail.
INCLUDE VOLUNTEER EXPERIENCE.
Student council positions, participation in clubs and non-profit organizations, and leadership initiatives all matter when it comes to giving a prospective employer a fuller sense of who you are. It doesn’t matter that these were paid or unpaid positions.
The important thing is the experience you gained and can bring to the table at your new job. A job seeker who grew membership for a local sports club is the same person who may well be able to grow a company’s customer base. An employee who cut costs at a non-profit organization and allowed it to survive lean times is the same person who may be able to pull a company through a downturn in the markets.
When referring to unpaid experience, use active language with power words that show what you achieved, earned or accomplished. Tell the employer who you led and how you successfully attained your goals.
SEE YOUR RESUME FROM YOUR EMPLOYER’S POINT OF VIEW
You want the job. Maybe you want it for the pay or the benefits or the prestige or the social interaction with fellow employees.
But that’s you.
Your prospective employer has his or her own interests. And that’s in getting an employee who will help him or her reach the company’s goals, whether these are revenue targets, improved efficiencies, cost-cutting measures, or a boost to the product or services’ quality.
The average amount of time an employer initially spends looking over a resume is only six seconds. That’s how long you have to impress upon the employer that you can help him or her reach those goals and are a good fit for that job.
So get out of your own skin and put yourself in the employer’s position. Look over your resume and read it as if you were the employer. If you were, would you be interested in hiring this person? Be brutally honest. If the answer is no, then make changes to ensure your resume showcases the skills and experiences you bring to the table that will help the employer reach his or her goals.
STRIVE FOR BALANCE.
No, this isn’t about lining up your chakras or striking that supposedly perfect balance between work and home life.
It’s about the amount of ink on the page. Your resume should be visually pleasing – and that’s achieved by balancing out the amount of black ink on the page with the amount of white space.
Don’t overcrowd your resume with text, a bunch of words bunched up into a massive block of black. And, likewise, don’t leave a huge hole in the page, maybe a big chunk of white space at the bottom or top of the page.
Balance. Let the resume breathe.
Finally, resist the urge to put in photographs or cheesy graphics and colour text. Your resume will likely be printed off in the employer’s office in black and white and all of those superfluous things – that may well create a “Wow!” factor in colour – tend to look bad when rendered in black and white.
Stick with black and white. Text and empty space. Keep it clean, crisp, and professional.