Seven Tips for an Outstanding Resume
By lisbeth.mcnabb on September 15, 2011
1. Remember Your Audience
When preparing your resume or working with mentees on theirs', remember that 97 percent of companies are not run by people-people. Few are professional resume readers. This may sound very mundane and surprising, but the truth is – most hiring authorities really don't know what to look for in a resume.Keep in mind that the people reviewing the resume are probably short on time. You want them to look at it and get a quick and impressive idea of why you stand out from the crowd.I recommend that you keep the message of the resume on a level that a high-school senior could understand. If you get any more sophisticated or esoteric than that, the resume may miss the mark. This doesn’t mean that you can’t explain complicated experiences in it. But it’s the difference between explaining, say, the splitting of atoms to a high-schooler or a nuclear physicist. Now, a high-schooler may not know anything about the companies that you have worked for or the kind of business that you have been in or the kind of duties and responsibilities that you have had, but the message communicated has to be on a level that a high-schooler can understand.
I advise the K.I.S.S. method: Keep It Simple Stupid. In the same manner that your telephone presentation is going to have to communicate features, advantages and benefits, your resume is going to have to do exactly the same thing. It is being read by people who want to know, "What can you do for me today?"
Your resume has to reflect, in quantifiable, real and specific terms, what you have done before, who you have done it for, how long you did it and how well you did it. And the communication of these factors has to be so simple that anyone who is in a hurry, who is trying to run a business, who really doesn’t want to read resumes, who’s doing this because she has to, who sees it as an annoying means to an end, who is doing it between everything else, maybe over lunch or a coffee break, can understand it clearly. It is going to be a 10 to 15 second scan by someone who is very busy and would much rather be doing something else. So, Keep It Simple!
3. Keep in mind: Results of a resume are overrated.
The purpose of a resume is to get you into the initial interview and to give the interviewing and hiring authorities a "go by" to help them decide in the interviewing process if you are a person they ought to try to hire.
The average resume gets read for 10 seconds.
When you couple the fact that hiring authorities are literally receiving a hundred or more resumes for each opening they have, one might begin to appreciate what happens when they look at a resume. Think about it – 10 seconds. If your resume can’t interest somebody in pursuing you in 10 seconds, all of the artful, miraculous, cosmic, inventive or unique formatting or wording isn’t going to matter.
So, what do most hiring authorities scan for initially in the 10 seconds they look at a resume? They want to know for whom you have worked, how long you were there and what position or positions you held. Those three things are what everybody scans for. If the initial scan is palatable, then the resume gets read further. Maybe even read two or three times. The initial scan deals with who, how long and what.
4. What I can do for you.
The clear message of an effective resume needs to be: "You need to interview (and subsequently hire) ME because this is what I have done in the past FOR OTHERS and therefore THIS IS WHAT I CAN DO FOR YOU! " A prospective employer doesn’t care about what you think of your resume and track record. He or she cares about what you can do for them. The most effective resume for finding a job is a simple straightforward chronological history of one’s employment.
I would never recommend writing a resume more than two pages. More than two pages is simply not going to get read in any kind of detail. One and a half pages is an ideal length; but if your experience is more than 15 years, you might end up with two.
Name, address, e-mail address, phone numbers. These are the basic things that should appear on the top of a resume in black, bold printing. Simple printing! No fancy script. Nothing cute. Just plain, black, simple, bold type.
I do not recommend writing an objective. The person who physically scans the resume just wants to know where you’ve worked, how long you were there and what you did. A prospective employer couldn’t care less about what you want! He or she only cares about what they want. About the only time I might recommend the use of an objective is if you are customizing your resume for a particular, specific job. If you know exactly the particular requirements of a particular position with a specific organization, you might be able to write the objective meaningful to the hiring authority.
7. Summary/Highlights of qualifications
I do not recommend a summary of qualifications for the same reason that I don’t recommend an objective. Summaries are either too general and broad to fit a specific need or so specific that they eliminate you for other possibilities.
Written for w2wlink.com by Tony Beshara. For more important career tips, visit our site!
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