Everyone who looks for a professional or management job has to have a resume. If you are actively networking to find employment, a copy of your resume is with you 24-hours a day, 7 days a week, ready to give to anyone who asks for it or whom you decide might be able to pass it along to someone.
When you respond to classified ads or job listings on a Web site, you are expected to send your resume or to complete a resume form provided by the listing site.
Professional resume writers can help you by reviewing a resume you have written or writing your resume for you. Both options require you to pay a fee.
The process of creating a resume, however, forces you to take a close look at your skills and your experience and determine how to best present them to a potential employer.
Writing your resume is an invaluable experience, and it is not one you should forgo in favor of having someone do it for you.
“There are only two things you can be sure a hiring manager will do when reviewing your resume,” advises Colleen Sabitino, author of Play of Your Dreams.
“Hiring managers will begin reviewing a resume by starting at the top, and they will read the lines from left to right. Their first impression will have the greatest impact and will influence how they perceive you.”
“A good resume is a glorified application,” says Sabatino. “A great resume is a marketing brochure.”
Your resume is a sales tool, not a job application. It can get you interviews, but it cannot get you jobs. A job application is a business form. Everyone who applies for a job at a company may have to fill one out.
A resume is your opportunity to present yourself in the best possible light. Your resume need not (probably ought not) contain a list of every job you’ve ever held.
Include only those jobs that best demonstrate your experience, skills and achievements. Don’t repeat formal job description; explain how you improved operations, increased profits, or achieved record sales levels.
List the year you earned your degree and the college that granted your degree, not the five colleges you went to over 10 years to get that degree.
If you have limited experience in an industry, play up the aspects of the jobs you have held to show how they are similar to the job you seek. Explain how this work demonstrated the skills you need to succeed, such as communication, responsibility, and a strong customer-orientation.
You can sit down one afternoon and pound out a resume, but you will be wasting your time. Even a good resume requires thought and effort. A great resume requires thought, effort, creativity, and a thorough understanding of the job you want to secure and the company you want to offer you that job.
Career counselors agree that resumes get no more than 20-30 seconds of attention when they arrive on the desk of the first person who handles them as they arrive in the mail. This person makes three piles.
- The “didn’t read the job description and has none of the required qualifications” pile.
- The “can’t write a paragraph without misspelling words, using the wrong punctuation, or making a grammatical error” pile
- The “might be what we are looking for” pile.
The first two piles are filed, but not in a drawer that is likely to be opened again in the next millennium. The last pile is handed-off to the person who decides who gets called for an interview. This may be a human resources recruiting specialist or it may be the hiring manager.
This person sorts the resumes again, and they spend less than 30 seconds with each resume as they sort.
An experienced recruiter or hiring manager is scanning resumes for words and phrases that signal the person fits the requirements stated in the position listing, and for information that demonstrates which candidates rise above the minimum requirements.
Dr. Ronald L. Krannich is a best-selling career book author and publisher. His book Change Your Job, Change Your Life has been in print since 1989. Kannich advises you to create a resume that incorporates these characteristics:
- Clearly communication your purpose and competencies in relation to the employer’s need.
- Be concise and easy to read.
- Outline a pattern of success highlighted with examples of key accomplishments.
- Motivate the reader to read it in-depth.
- Tell employers that you are a responsible and purposeful individual – a doer who can quickly solve their problems.