Like it or not, the resume remains a vital part of the job search process. You may bring great skills and talents to the table, but if you don’t have these skills effectively captured in a resume, you will not go far in the hiring process. Recruiters will spend a few seconds glancing at your resume. Make sure your resume doesn't end up in the "reject pile" by following these tips:
1. Include a Summary Statement: The first few sentences should draw in a potential employer or recruiter. This is the “cliff notes” version of what you have to offer an employer. Get it right. It should include an overview of your professional experience and your key skills. Prospective employers should be able to look at the summary and immediately know the position you are seeking and why they should talk to you. The rest of the resume provides the “proof” to back up your summary.
2. Accomplishments, Not Responsibilities: It is OK to include a “responsibilities” overview for each of your position(s), but the majority of information under each position should include bulleted accomplishments or results. It is much more powerful to say “Increased customer retention by 50% over a six month period” than to say “Responsible for customer retention.” Demonstrate how you have contributed in your past roles. This provides the evidence employers are seeking and offers them more incentive to reach out to you.
3. Don’t Include “Fluff” Information: Drop statements such as “References available upon request,” as that is inferred with any candidate. Also, don’t include hobbies, associations that aren’t relevant to your profession, or any type of information that references political views, religious orientation, or other personal information.
4. Utilize Strong Action Verbs: Start most of your accomplishments with strong action verbs such as Designed, Achieved, Established, Conducted, Managed, Implemented, Resolved, etc. You can search online for lists of effective action verbs. Be wary of repeating the same action verbs within your resume.
5. Not All Work Experience Needed: It is not necessary to list every job. Employers don't need to know you worked at a deli in your early years. Chances are good that a position you had over 15-20 years ago, would not be relevant to your current job search. Employers generally look at the last 10-15 years of experience.
6. No Pronouns: Do not use “I” or “me”. It comes across as awkward. It is obvious you are referring to yourself because it is your resume. Use action verbs to start your sentences.
7. Education: If you have been out of school for more than five years, position your work experience first. Employers will be much more interested in what you have accomplished in a job.
8. Keep the resume to One Page: If possible, keep your resume to one page. If you do need to use two pages, make sure your strongest assets are captured on the first page.
9. Utilize Key Words: Many employers or job sites use key words to search resume. Make sure you are current on important key words in your industry and position. Try to include these in your resume, so that you have a much higher chance of popping up in a search.
10. Proof Read!: It is critical that you proofread your resume numerous times. Have someone else review it as well. There is nothing worse than having typos or formatting issues. You may have a great story to tell, but still could be rejected because of typos on your resume.