There’s a lot of great resume advice out there. You could go to www.gm4jh.com or www.resumedictionary.com. And of course, yahoo, MSN, AOL and the like all link to either Monster or Careerbuilder with all their great resources. Plus, all those blogs and websites that you could google.
I would not ever presume to be your definite source. I just try in my small, humble way to be a source and a resource. A place that can point you in the right direction and on occasion, give you some food for thought.
That’s this article…
Food for thought…
Some thoughts that run through my mind that I want to share with you.
My ten resume tips…
1. Skip the “Objective Statement.” Everyone knows what your objective is. The hiring manager knows. HR knows. The executive assistant knows. The janitor knows. If you wrote that your objective was to “obtain a challenging leadership position applying creative problem solving and lean management skills with a growing company to achieve optimum utilization of its resources and maximum profits…,” and they offered you a job cleaning toilets for the same pay – would you turn it down? The objective statement is a “me” statement in document that should be about “them.” (counterintuitive – I know) But, here’s a list of 50 objective statements that Palladian Career Resources put together that you don’t need. It’s all me, me, me.
2. Use a “Summary of Accomplishments.” This is not a list of jobs you’ve held or what you’ve been responsible for over the years. This is a 4 to 5 sentence recap of your major accomplishments that define who you are and tells the story of your work life. Between the cover letter and this brief summary of accomplishments, your aim is to get the reader to say, “I need to meet this guy…” to himself. Because this is a “them” statement. It’s about making the reader think, “wow, can this person do this for us too?” And it’s a lead-off to the body of your resume.
3. Proofread – twice, then give it to someone who’s brutally honest for a second or third opinion. And don’t focus on just the obvious mistakes. Make sure if the company you are applying for is ACmE INc., that you address it to ACme INc. and not ACME Inc. And names. Use names. Use correctly spelt names. Okay. So proofread. In case you didn’t get that – Proofread. And check out Dave Mielach’s article:
The Résumé Mistake That Could Cost You Big
There are many things that might prevent you from getting the job, but none are more frustrating to hiring managers than simple typos on a candidate’s résumé. More than 60 percent of hiring managers in the survey said that they would automatically dismiss a candidate when seeing typos in their résumé.
4. Use the whole page. Yes, you want your resume to be readable with lots of white space. You certainly don’t want to give the impression that you are trying to squeeze 10 lbs. of crap into a 5 lbs. bag. Still, use the whole page. Set the margins – top, bottom, sides – to 1/2 inch. Which leads to…
5. Get it down to 1 page. Squeezing the margins way out will help. Not using personal pronouns will help. But sometimes, getting it to 1 page just may not be doable. If you’re a seasoned professional with a long work history, then getting it to 1 page will be a challenge and maybe even darn near impossible. But them’s the break. You need it to get it one page. Here is an example for Kevin Donlin’s Guerrilla Resume that shows how it might be done (click here to see that example resume – by the way, the objective statement in this example is one that could okay because it’s an objective that focuses on “them”). Okay, still not doable. Do not go pass 2 pages. That’s about the attention span anyways – so it’s all probaby moot.
6. Don’t lie. Lying can lead to nothing good. Sure, it might get you the job; but for most, the truth will come out at some point. And then, it gets ugly, as it did with Michael Brown as explained in this article by Kathy Sweeney, Padding Resumes with Erroneous Information Can Result in Disaster. Don’t lie. Don’t exaggerate. You can also read Phil Baker’s article, Best Resume Writing Bloopers, for a good chuckle.
7. List 2 or 3 accomplishments for the jobs that you’ve had. Do not list responsibilities or job duties. This is a huge mistake on almost every resume I’ve read. And make it specific. Make it relevant.
8. Don’t wing it. And why would you need to? There are a ton of resources out there. Over at my resume resource page, I’ve got links to Universities and Experts that can help you put together a great resume. Heck, you could go to MS Office Templates and get decent resume templates. But don’t wing it.
9. Tailor the resume to the job you want. Don’t get into that depressing mass marketing/mailing quagmire. Research, target and focus your resume to the job you want, at the company you want. Make the resume relevant to the reader. Make it compelling. You do that by tailoring your resume to what the reader is looking for. And this is how you transform a “me” document into a “them” document (see tip #1). By the way, if you’re mass mailing, that’s tough to do.
10. Use a cover letter. Cover letter is accessorizing. It’s the clean, white handkerchief tucked in breastpocket of dark, charcoal business suit. It looks good. Accessories makes fashion stand out. Cover letter is more important than that. Cover letter makes the resume relevant – boy, I sure do like that word, relevant. It introduces the resume. It sets the stage and brings relevance to the resume. Keep it simple, keep it direct, keep it – you guess it – relevant. Phil Baker has a great, simple to use software that helps people write cover letters; if writing cover letters is too intimidaing.
Okay, there you have it – a few suggestions for you to consider as you get your resume together.
By the way, what tips do you have…