Many job seekers who find themselves unemployed for the first time in years are faced with having to update their resumes and are unsure how to start. Because of the competitive job market, most hiring managers will spend less than a minute looking at your resume. Knowing that, how do you get their attention?
Put yourself in their shoes. Keep your resume brief, no more than 1 – 2 pages at most –
Many job search websites recommend you list an objective or a descriptive headline at the top of your resume that broadcasts your specific career target. Employers also have objectives. One of them is getting through the stack of resumes so they can move on to interviews. Objectives or career summaries take up precious space on a resume and if written narrowly, can eliminate you from the candidate pool.
Relevance Matters –
Hiring managers pour through resumes and look for quick indicators of a worthwhile candidate. Your resume should highlight the skills and experience that are most relevant to the position. It can be difficult (and painful) to reduce 20+ years of professional experience to one page of bullet points. Enlisting an ally who can provide an objective opinion of what should or shouldn’t be eliminated from your resume can be very helpful.
Avoid personal information such as “hobbies and interests.”
Format – Which is the best?
Chronological resumes continue to be the most preferred. Hiring managers not only look for relevant skills – they also look for dates of employment and patterns in employment history. Begin with your most recent employer.
For those who are concerned about decades-ago positions that may reflect their age, some experts recommend going back just ten years. Keep in mind that going back just ten years may limit your ability to highlight the experience relevant to the position you’re applying for.
Use one font style. Use bullet points and short sentences to highlight your experience. Your resume should be written as an outline, not a story.
Contact Information –
Give up the college student email address for a more professional one. Using email@example.com (yes, that was a real email address), almost always will put you in the “no” stack.
Accuracy – In spelling, grammar, and content –
Hiring managers are besieged with resumes on a daily basis. A simple clerical error on your resume can take you out of the running for an otherwise perfectly-suited position. Mistakes in spelling and grammar reflect carelessness. Missing dates or mistakes in dates of employment may be perceived as an attempt to hide a poor work history. Don’t just count on spell-check – have a friend proof read your resume.
Writing a good resume takes time, but the results are worth it.