Objective, work experience, and an education section was once all that necessary to create a persuasive resume. However, changes in technology, an employer based job market, and swamped human resources personnel have altered the essential job search document. Indeed, applicants must survive applicant tracking systems that scan their resumes for keywords (skills, occupational titles, technology, etc.). Finally, a hiring professional only glances at the document for 30 seconds or less. Needless to say, your résumé needs to be designed in a way that gets you noticed.
DESIGNING YOUR FLYER
The best analogy for resume writing is creating a flyer. You’re enticing employers, your potential customers to view your skills, creativity, and what makes you a stronger candidate than your peers. You also need to grab the reader’s attention in 30 seconds or less. In order to optimize the “face time” with HR, your résumé should be formatted to sell your accomplishments and work experience. Consider the following format:
Summary of Qualifications
Industry Specific Keywords/Skills
If you’ve done community service or served on boards related to your industry, add a “Volunteer” or “Civic Engagement” section. Have you published a book or an article in a journal, magazine, or blog? Then add a “Publications” section. A “Presentations” section would highlight your aspiring TED Talks speaking savvy. Other possible sections of your résumé to include are “Professional Affiliations,” “Technical Skills,” and “Languages.”
SUMMARIZING YOUR QUALIFICATION
The Summary of Qualifications has ushered the death knell of the Objective. A good summary should answer the following questions:
- What are the characteristics of achievers in your industry?
- What personality traits do you have? Which traits are important in your field?
- What are your top skills?
- What are your big accomplishments in your industry?
- Why do you think you’re a superior candidate for this position?
OTHER FORMATTING NOTES
FONTS- The best fonts for resumes are you can choose both sans-serif and serif based fonts, but understand that applicant tracking systems prefer the sans serif variety. Palatino, Helvetica, Garamond, Arial, and Calibri are acceptable fonts. Please keep the size between 11-12 points. 10 point font is too small.
DITCH THE PAPER COPY- Unless you’re on an interview or attending certain job fairs, don’t worry about the paper copy of your résumé. You don’t need resume paper either. Simply save a copy of your résumé in Word .doc or .docx format. Make sure you “lock” your résumé by establishing your authorship when you save it in Word. A few fields may request a PDF copy of your résumé. Please make sure you create your document in Word to ensure that you have a copy of your résumé that you can edit.
WOULD YOU RESPECT ROCKSTARGRRRL@ANYPLACE.COM ? Your email handle says a lot about your professionalism. Most hiring managers would not take this candidate very seriously. A more professional email username would use a client’s first and last name. If you have a common name, don’t be afraid to add numbers, punctuation (periods are not just for ending a sentence), or adding a middle initial. A word of caution about numbers, please don’t include your birth date, year of birth, personal address, or telephone numbers in your email. These missteps open up issues of identity theft.
This is the first segment in the resume series. Come back to learn more about resume writing, productivity, and other elements of professional development.