Job Coach Jay Block has an interesting video on YouTube in which he discusses the top three fixes for a resume in today’s crowded employment market.
Much of what Jay has said is extremely valuable, and I’d like to expand on it here.
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What Three Things are Most Important in a Resume?
- Compelling Information
- Focusing on Results
Let’s take these one at a time.
Is Your Presentation Attractive or Difficult to Read?
You have to remember that hiring managers are busy. Once they’ve read 20 resumes in the same day, they’re weary and probably aren’t looking forward to reading more. If yours is the 21st document, it had better be easy on the eyes. So what do you need to do?
- Make ample use of white space. If you have tiny little margins to squeeze everything in, you’re providing too much information. The text will appear to be running off the page and it will be daunting to read.
- Use bullets, rather than paragraphs, to list tasks. Paragraphs, especially long ones, are not easy on the eyes. Bullets break up the information into easily understandable segments.
- Use a font that’s easy to read. Your best bet is Arial or Times New Roman. They’re classic. Everyone has them in their word processing software. Don’t make the mistake of using a ‘designer’ font. The recipient may not have the same font on his computer and another will be substituted. This could compromise formatting.
Are You Providing Information That a Hiring Manager Wants?
Have you painted yourself as the ideal candidate for the position within the opening summary? You better. Hiring managers generally give a resume no more than seven seconds before they move on to the next candidate. What they want to know is if you can successfully fill the position. If you can’t, then don’t apply for it. And please, don’t take up their time with information that’s not relevant to the job. They won’t be impressed.
Results, Results, Results – and More Results
The truth of it is, hiring managers want to know two things – can you make their company money and/or can you save it money? If your resume is strictly task focused, rather than showing the results of those tasks, you won’t be called in to interview. Don’t fall into the trap of believing you don’t have any achievements. Everyone has something. Do this exercise. Imagine how many individuals the company would need to hire to replace you if you were to quit. If you say 2 and you’re making $30,000 annually, that means you’re saving the company $30,000 by doing the work of 2 people. That’s an achievement.
What Should You Avoid in a Resume?
Anything that states what you want, rather than what you can do for the targeted company. Never write an objective statement that begins with the words “I want…”, “I need…”, or “I require…” Most hiring managers will stop reading at that point. They know you’re in it for what you can get, and that you have little concern over their success. That’s not the way to win an interview.
If you keep the company’s success in mind and how your skills match their needs while you’re crafting your resume, you’ll be producing a document that will attract interest.