1). One Accomplishment is Worth Five Responsibilities
Employers are far more concerned with knowing that you can make a real and positive impact on day to day operations than they are with reading a long list of responsibilities that only prove that you’re exactly the same as every other applicant. Concentrate on specifics. How did you better your workplace? How much money did your last project save the company? How did the new filing system you came up with help overall efficiency? Cite numbers and percentages and be specific. Don’t get lost in the crowd. If your resume shows you as an individual who contributed real benefits, you’re halfway there.
2). Avoid Too Much Information
You’ve worked hard during your career. There are so many things you want to say to an employer to prove your worth; however, including every last piece of your career story on a resume will get it thrown in the trash. Why? Recruiters and hiring managers read hundreds of resumes a week. They are looking for concise, accurate, and hard-hitting material that focuses strictly on the needs of the companies they work for. It takes thirty seconds or less for someone to skim over your resume and decide whether to throw it away or pass it on next stage. Don’t dilute your best stuff with pages of filler.
3). Don’t Hold Back
A common problem when writing your resume, or even when having it done by a professional, is the hesitancy to sell yourself and embrace confidence in your abilities. If you can do it, then *own* it. If you’re good at it, make sure it comes out on paper. Don’t ever sell yourself short. The most important part of preparing for a resume is assessing and embracing your worth. The last place you want to come across as shy is in one of the most important professional documents you’ll ever own.
4). Don’t EVER Lie
Being enthusiastic about your selling points is one thing but exaggerating or outright lying are the worst things you can do for your career, your professional reputation, and your chances of employment. Your ability to do the things you claim to be able to do will be tested from the moment you start your new position. Before that, you’ll face employers who know how unfortunately common this tactic is and exactly how to expose it. Many industries have open blacklists that contain the identities of individuals who are caught using this tactic, ensuring that their chances of gaining employment elsewhere are reduced drastically.
5). The More Resumes You Have, The Better Your Chances
One common misperception is the idea that a single resume fits all scenarios. This is simply not true. One of the most powerful strategies when applying for different jobs is to tailor each of your resumes to individual opportunities or fields. If you’re an unemployed restaurant manager who has a lot of experience in fine dining, you’ll want to point that out when applying for that type of job. If you seek employment with a busy café, it’s better to generalize and showcase your managerial experience without mentioning that you’ve never worked in quite the same type of place. This isn’t lying; it’s providing only the most relevant information to each particular company. This is a crucial strategy.
6). Formatting is More Important Than You Might Think
Using a one-size-fits-all format for your resume may work for some situations, but if you really want to pique the interests of an employer, you’ll need to use a little strategy when organizing your information on paper. If you’re just out of college, or applying for a job that requires a specific degree, place that information near the top of the first page, where it’s immediately obvious. If you want to call attention to your accomplishments, put them in bullet form and leave the basic responsibilities for an introductory paragraph. The correct formatting, highlighting, and placement of information is just as important as the information itself. If someone is skimming through your document, you want them to see your best material right off the bat.
7). Use the Correct Keywords
Modern resume writing strategies have evolved to accommodate the special keywords and phrases that are scanned for when submitting them to online databases and posting services. The keywords themselves will depend on whether you are targeting a broad career field or specific job listings. As with everything else in the resume writing arena, it all comes down to personalized strategy. This isn’t as necessary when handing your resume to an actual person at a brick-and-mortar company, but embracing online technology and resources is crucial for those seeking to reach as many people as possible with your intention to secure employment.
8). Network, Network, Network
Technically, this isn’t advice for the resume itself, but the power of networking cannot be understated. Talk to people, build relationships, and share mutual resources. If a manager isn’t hiring, give them your resume anyway and ask them to contact you if something comes up. If a friend works with a great company, ask them to introduce you to some people and have them put in a good word for you. They may remember you in the future. Join professional groups related to your career field; help others who are just below your rung on the company ladder. Make your presence known and people will remember your name.
9). Ask for Advice
Many professional resume writers and recruiters are open to giving advice to people who need an honest and direct critique of their resume. Take advantage of this and be willing to make changes and adjustments, even if you don’t personally agree with them. What may seem like a small issue to you could make a huge impact in whether your resume gets passed on the next level, or whether you’re called for your first interview. Even a second or third pair of eyes from a family member or friend can help you identify weak areas or remember skills you almost forgot you had.
10). Consider Having Your Resume Written by a Professional
A professionally written resume with a powerful and strategic approach can provide a return on investment that far outweighs the initial costs. Personal research and commitment to writing yourself a great resume will greatly improve your chances of finding the ideal position, but only a trained resume specialist can truly take your job search to the next level. If you’re serious about your career, you should strongly consider taking advantage of someone with years of experience and an acute awareness of the day to day evolution of resume best practices.