by Madeline Laughs
What can you tell me, in writing, about yourself, that I can read in 25 seconds and be impressed. It has to be true.
It’s impossible to to figure out exactly what today’s person responsible for hiring really wants to see. In a push button society, our allotment of time granted to shine is very, very small. And getting smaller everyday.
A well written resume is a necessity. Without one you will never have the job you really want and you will always be settling for the job you could get instead.
I have been helping a friend re-do his old resume. I took a week just to study what he already had. Two resumes, one recently refurbed and one a bit older. I dissected each one to see which parts I liked and why. This process made me realize just how far into the future technology has pushed this whole process.
Neither of his old resumes would cut the mustard of today’s job market. He was already starting to feel this himself, which is what drove him to ask me for help. No one was responding to his resume or his cover letter. He wasn’t even getting called for interviews. Someone with his kind of experience should have people beating a path to him. He shouldn’t even have to interview! But here he was…unemployed with no prospects.
The first thing a hiring professional is going to look at will be your work history timeline. Not your work history, but your consistency. During the dot com rage, a timeline was almost obsolete because folks were bouncing all over the place, but now it’s back in vogue. Any discrepancies will cost you.
Penelope’s Trunk wrote a great piece called How To Quit Every Job and Still Have a Great Resume. I recommend reading this if you have jumped around a lot in your work history.
The second thing they’ll look at will be your Summary and your Objective. They’ll be looking to see if what you want to do is the job they’re hiring for. This is where your 25 seconds will start to count down.
I know you’ve seen these summaries “Highly motivated individual. Great organizational skills. Closer.” There are words in there like “executed” and “skilled” and “multi-tasker”. I have to tell you that if your Summary reads anything like this, you’re losing the hiring game. You’ve just described yourself the exact same way everyone described themselves. Almost every resume these days has that same Summary because almost everyone writing a resume has copied these pat lines from the Internet.
Realistically, is this what you want to tell your next employer about yourself? That you’re just like everybody else?
I’ve checked out some of the latest resume writing websites and they all have the same advice. Sell yourself. Treat your resume like it’s your own personal ad. Make You look like you’ll be the best thing that ever happened to their company.
That’s what a good resume does, it sells You.
In your Summary you should be talking about awards you’ve won, concrete accomplishments, bottom line numbers and kudos for a job well done. Make them want you to work with them.
25 seconds is counting down and you still have to tell them what you want to do. This is your Objective.
What are they looking for? Do they want a sales professional? Then that’s your objective, to be their new sales professional. Tell them that’s the job you’re applying for and why you think you’re the person for the job, but keep it short and direct.
It is a misconception that you only need one resume. If you’re serious about your job hunt, you should be prepared to tailor each and every resume you send out to match whatever job it is that you want. This means you can have as many resumes as it takes.
Hopefully you know what you want to do. Hopefully you have a little experience in that field. But even if you don’t know and you’ve never done the job, there is enough about you to meet the needs they seek. When you find your work history isn’t impressive enough, dig around in your personal life. Were you a Boy Scout, a Sunday school teacher, a camp counselor? All of those are excellent selling tools. Use them to build and flesh out your resume.
Flowery words and filler will only annoy the hiring professional. How do I know this? I worked as a recruiter as part of my job responsibility for many years. I always had a stack of resumes to read. It wasn’t my favorite part of the job.
After a while I made it into a game. I would take each resume and with a red felt tipped pen, I would cross out every adjective. Some resumes ended up looking like a blood bath, but once I finished, I knew if this was a candidate for Round 2, or a candidate for the garbage can. Guess where the blood bath resume went.
Another good way to grab attention is with a nice Cover Letter. These days everything is done electronically, so your Cover Letter has become an email. Use good grammar, use your spell check and always have an opening and closing salutation.
A good tip is unless they specifically ask you to attach a Cover Letter separately, never attach one. Use the body of your email instead.
Name your resume file with your name. Don’t name it something cutesy. One guy I knew always named his resume, Dashume. Funny? Yes. Professional? No. Most recruiters refused to even download it because they thought it was either spam or a virus.
If you are asked to mail a hard copy resume, make sure the paper you print it on says something about you. If you want to make six figures or more a year, then invest in some nice linen stock with matching envelopes. White will do just fine. Hot pink resumes are just wrong.
My last bit of advice on this subject is to stop using the word “proactive”. It had it’s day in the sun and that’s now over. No one says this anymore and if it’s stuck all over your resume they will wonder how long ago you sat down and went over this tool you’re using to sell yourself in today’s market. Deactivate proactive.
I guess I should get back to work now.
- Help me get across my awesomeness to the 5 second quick reader of resumes (ask.metafilter.com)
- Resume Tips for New Professionals (thx4playing.blogspot.com)
- ResumeBear Announces One of a Kind Job Board to Compliment Their Resume Services (prweb.com)
- The benefits of a two-page resume (sfgate.com)
- How do you prepare resumes (wiki.answers.com)
- How Important Is a Resume Strategy? (jenniferanthony.wordpress.com)
- 5 Critical Areas of Weakness With Your Resume. (thejobhuntergroup.wordpress.com)
- Resume cover letter – success in your job search (energyseo.wordpress.com)
- Pinning our Hopes and Dreams on a Resume Rewrite (surviving-unemployment.com)
- objective in resume (spraydryer3e.wordpress.com)
- Insider Tips On Writing A Resume Objective: Don’t Write One! (jenniferanthony.wordpress.com)
- Just a few resume hints….Please!!! (resumesurvislady.wordpress.com)
- CVs vs. resumes: when it matters [bioephemera] (scienceblogs.com)
- What is the procedure to write resumes and sample resumes (wiki.answers.com)
- Free Resume Review – Limited Time Only! (amfertig.wordpress.com)