Think of your resume as your first introduction to a prospective employer- a brief summary where you communicate relevant detail impacting your ability to perform the job being offered.
A well written and organized resume will get you an interview. A poorly written resume mirrors inability and careless work ethic. Write a successful resume with these basic guidelines.
Be Concise and Thorough
At this stage, employers are looking for individuals with the talent, education, and experience to perform the job. Employers look for basic job requirements along with enhancing experience and/or education. Resumes with minimum requirements will be placed in the â€˜qualifiedâ€™ pile. Those with additional offerings will make up the short list.
The average resume should be one page, two pages if truly merited. Being concise, however, does not mean leaving out vital information. An employer will appreciate the need for a lengthy resume if you are highly qualified. Include any degrees, work experience, continuing education (workshops, additional certifications) and volunteering if it relates to the job.
Two of the most basic and accepted resume formats are the â€˜Reverse-Chronologicalâ€™ and â€˜Skills-Basedâ€™ format.
Reverse-chronological format starts with your most recent experiences first, then works back in time. Information should be broken into readable sub-fields like education, experience, and community/volunteer service. This format allows employers to see where you are now and how you got there. Reverse-chronological formats are useful when your most recent experience was related to the given field. If you have recently worked outside the field, consider more of a skill-based grouping.
Skills-based formats group experience into logical, related skill-set groupings. Emphasis is placed on what you have done, instead of when you did it. If it has been some time since you worked in the field, or if you have jumped around occupationally, a skills-based format is best. Start this format with education, then group skills into categories such as â€˜organizational skillsâ€™, â€˜leadershipâ€™, â€˜researchâ€™, â€˜computersâ€™, etc. Support your skills under a separate â€œemployment historyâ€ to show where skills were learned.
Any format can be varied as long as it remains organized and readable.
Format and clarity are important considerations, but if you do not include all necessary information, employers will consider you lacking. Basic resume content should include the following:
Start with a heading including your name, address, phone number, and email address.
State the industry or position you hope to be hired into.
List degrees, diplomas, and certificates. List schools and colleges and the years you attended.
Include all positions you want the employer to consider. Unrelated experience may be critical if it fills in gaps in your employment history. It is better to be seen as an explorer than unemployed.
Include relevant volunteer experience, community service, military experience, training, leadership roles, research experience, and possibly personal interests.
Review your resume and tailor it for each submission. Enhance portions most interesting to individual employers. Delete trivial experience. Change salary requests to that being offered.
Proof for typos and misspellings. Present a clean, finished resume, free from distractions relaying a poor impression of you. Be consistent in phrasing throughout.
Remember your resume is a first glance at your qualifications only. Prospective employers want the full basic picture, but will be lost in wordy dissertations. Let your resume speak for your qualifications to get your foot in the door; subsequent interviews and cover letters are where you can let your personality shine.