Everyone in the business world knows that having a good and strong Resume (also known as Curriculum Vitae or simply CV) can mean the difference between getting a job and not getting a job. You will need to have a resume that is crafted professionally and that will reflect you, your job abilities, and your experience. Having a good looking resume is so important when you are searching for a job that it should be your number one priority. There are all sorts of ways you can go about crafting a resume that works, but there is no magic formula for a resume that will work all the time.
The choice is really up to you how you put together your resume, but there are certain nuances that you will need to include in your resume that every employer looks for. It is not difficult to put together a resume that works, but it is important that you do not overlook what makes your resume most effective. This one or two page document speaks about you, your abilities, your experience, your education, and your accomplishments. It is the first thing that a potential employer will see before they meet you, so you want it to really be compelling and make them want to pick up the phone and call you for an interview!
There are many schools of thought regarding how a resume should look like, what information it should contain, and how to put it together. However, most business people agree that when they look at a resume of a potential employee, they want the resume to be concise, to the point, and easy to read. Whichever school of thought you, as a job seeker, subscribe to, you will still want your resume to be what a potential employer wants to see. That is why you will want as much information about resumes as possible so you can have something that you can be proud of, to send out as an introduction to you and what you can do for a company. The resume is a selling tool that outlines your skills and experiences so an employer can see, at a glance, how you can contribute to the employer’s workplace. Your resume has to sell you in short order.
While you may have all the requirements for a particular position, your resume is a failure if the employer does not instantly come to the conclusion that you “have what it takes.” The first hurdle your resume has to pass – whether it ends up in the “consider file” or the “reject file” – may take less than thirty seconds. The most effective resumes are clearly focused on a specific job title and address the employer’s stated requirements for the position. The more you know about the duties and skills required for the job – and organize your resume around these points – the more effective the resume will be. You will need information to write a good resume. Not just information about jobs you have held in the past but also information to select the most relevant accomplishments, skills and experience for THIS position. The more you know about the employer and the position, the more you can tailor your resume to fit the job.
Some people think of a resume as their “life on a page,” but how could anyone put everything important about themselves on a single piece of paper (or two)? Actually, resumes are much more specific, including only relevant information about you for specific employers. Like a life, however, a resume is always growing and changing. As your career goals shift or the job market changes – as you grow personally and professionally – chances are you will need to re-write your resume or at least create new versions. Writing a resume is a lifelong process.
How do you know what in your life – past, present, and future – is most relevant to prospective employers? How do you select which information to include? The quick answer to both these questions is “it depends.” It depends on your individual career goals as well as on the professional goals of the companies hiring in your area or field of interest. In the end, only you, through research, planning, questioning and self-reflection, can determine the shape and content of your resume, but the strategies here along with those on the job search can help you ask the right questions and begin exploring your options.
Depending on whom you ask, a resume may be viewed as the single most important vehicle to securing your next job, or it may be viewed as an unnecessary nuisance. In both cases, this is incorrect. A resume is a professional introduction meant to encourage a one-on-one interview situation – the opportunity for communication that can lead to a job offer. It is a rare candidate who is hired by his or her resume alone. It is just as rare to be offered an interview without one.
A resume is often the first line of contact. It establishes a first impression of a potential job candidate’s skills, background and hiring value. If written well, this impression can be a positive one, offering the reader a sense of the candidate’s “fit” for the position and company being targeted. If written really well, it may convince the reader that the job candidate is ideally suited for the job. When coupled with an effective cover letter, the resume can be a very strong marketing tool.
Preparing a resume may be seen as a nuisance, but having a well-constructed, well-designed resume is an important part of your job search. Consider that for each available job opening there may be as many as 100 to 1000 resumes submitted. If your resume fails to adequately and accurately convey your hiring value (for the specific position), fails to establish your hiring value over competing candidates, or is difficult to follow, your ability to compete against those 100 to 1000 professionals, vying for the same position you are, will be greatly diminished. If your resume secures an interview, it has done its job. If it sets you ahead of the competition in the mind of your interviewer, then it has given you a distinct advantage, and has gone beyond its job. A great resume does what all good marketing pieces do: it sells the “consumer” (the potential employer or hiring manager) on the “product” (you).
Like it or not, the job of looking for employment is a job in sales and marketing. The product you are “selling” is you, and the “customer,” who has unique needs and interests, needs to be sold on the fact that you have what it takes to get the job done and to meet the needs of the position. He or she is going to want to know how you are going to solve his or her problems, and he or she is going to give your resume about 15 seconds, or less, to sell this. Fifteen seconds is the average time a hiring manager will allot to a new resume – before giving it a potential “yes” or “no” response.
The resume will not get you the job (well, it has happened, but it is extremely rare), but it can certainly secure your chances of being seen and interviewed, just as it can cause you to be passed over in favour of a candidate who offers a better presentation. As with any type of marketing campaign, use your resume as one tool in your search. Continue to network, improve your interviewing skills, and use every avenue available to you to better your chances and opportunities. And, after you have secured that next position, do this all over again. Always be prepared for the next opportunity. Keep your resume up-to-date and stay career fit.
So, essentially, a resume is you in short form on paper. That is why having a good looking, easy to read resume is so important. For in-depth coverage of the subject matter, including cover letters, references and interviews, consider getting yourself a copy of Resume Writing Secrets.
Thank you for reading. Please subscribe to our Newsletter so you don’t miss future publications.