When you think of creating a resume, do you believe that all you have to do is list your experience in a reverse chronological order (that is, your most recent job first, followed by your next most recent, and so on),then follow it with your academic data and you’re through?
Sadly, you’ve barely begun.
What You Should Know, but Probably Don’t
Modern resumes are marketing tools, with you as the product. Because you want to sell yourself to a hiring manager or a recruiter, you need to employ known tools to make your resume effective.
One of the most important tools is data organization.
Put yourself in a hiring manager’s position. He or she receives hundreds, perhaps thousands of resumes on an annual basis. If none of those resumes stated, at the beginning, what the candidate could do or what that individual is seeking, imagine how complicated it would be for the hiring authority to know who to invite for an interview. Candidates who simply list their employment and education are forcing a hiring manager to read every single line of their resumes to determine what their skills might be.
Most hiring managers won’t do that. The vast majority give a candidate’s resume 7 seconds or less before they throw it in the trash.
Therefore, you have to organize your data in a manner that pulls in readers quickly and holds them, urging them to read further, to learn more about you.
Tips to Help You Organize Data:
1. Begin with a strong opening summary. It should paint you as the ideal candidate for the position you’re seeking. A one-size-fits-all resume does not work here. You have to tailor each one to every posting you apply for. You should include your most pertinent skills, as they relate to the job. You should also include one, preferably two, recent/relevant/quantified accomplishments. Achievements support the claims you make about yourself.
2. Following the opening summary, you need to pull out your accomplishments – again, as they pertain to the position sought – and showcase them in their own section. Be certain you quantify each one. Going to work every day is not an accomplishment, it’s expected. The same goes for getting along with co-workers. An achievement is something in which you saved your company money or made it money.
3. The next section will be either Professional Experience (if you do have experience in your field) or Education (if you’re just starting out). Professional Experience should be in a reverse chronological order and should focus on results, not merely tasks. For Education, you should include any relevant coursework – as it pertains to the industry or position being sought – to prove you have some knowledge of it, even if it wasn’t gained on the job.
If you have language, computer or special skills, these should not be placed at the end of the resume. They need to go in the opening summary.
The Top Half of Your Resume is Valuable Real Estate
Think of it this way: every relevant skill you have, each accomplishment you attained should go at the top of your resume. The first half of the first page should give the hiring manager or recruiter everything they need to know about you. The remainder of the resume is for details.
By following the above steps, we make certain our clients have a shot at the job they want.