Today, your resume is often the first and last chance you have to impress a future boss. While technology has moved some resumes onto Internet platforms such as LinkedIn, the same general formula is still adhered to. Whether it’s on paper or on a website, you need to make sure that your presentation of yourself is stellar enough to win you that dream career. Resumes are typically only one page long, and you’ll need to use every inch of that space to your advantage. With that in mind, here are a few ideas about how to shock and awe your potential employer.
Concerning the different sections, resumes typically follow this order: contact information, elevator pitch, skills, achievements, experience, education, and certifications. For the recent graduate, it’s acceptable to place your education first, especially if you have a degree that pertains to the position at hand. If you don’t have enough content to fill any one of these sections, don’t hesitate to crop it. For instance, if you only have a high school education, don’t put that on unless you’re a high school student. Make sure your font type and color are relatively standard and not too off-putting. While it’s tempting to want to make yourself stand out with a literally colorful resume, it’s best to impress with what’s on the resume, not how it’s designed.
Skills vs. Achievements?
Skills are not the same thing as achievements and they should not be lumped together unless you are specifically indicating that you’re doing so. Skills are things like: “competent with content management systems” or “works well in team environments.” Achievements are things like: “improved sales calls by 10% in the third quarter” or “awarded Employee of the Month in July 2015.” If you don’t have very many achievements, make sure you flesh out your skills section instead. Employers want to know what you’re capable of, and this is the chance to show them.
Statement of Purpose?
A once all-important paragraph, the statement of purpose has diminished in modern times into a written elevator pitch about yourself and why you’re the best fit for the job. Don’t bother explaining on your resume that you’d like to have the job. This is an outmoded method of tackling a resume and only serves as being a waste of space. Instead, cut straight to the point and hit your potential employer square in the face with the best sales spiel about yourself that you have. Make it short and sweet.
Leave them out. Make sure that you have references to offer, but don’t give them up unless you are specifically asked to. References, as with a lengthy statement of purpose, only serve to take up space and confuse the eye. Resumes need to be as clear and brief as possible in order to capture your employer’s attention, and the employer already knows that they can ask you for people who should be able to recommend you. Don’t muddy the waters by throwing that on there anyway.
Yes. Every time. Except for the elevator pitch. Bullet points help clean up your resume and make it look sparklingly organized. As soon as you start writing too many items in a run-on sentence, you’ve lost your potential boss. Keep every bullet point list brief and to the point, and feel free to even bold the words you want to make sure that your interviewer catches. Bullet points are a tremendous help when it comes to keeping your keywords clear and making it easy to skim your resume. You’re going to want them. Trust me.
Don’t Psyche Yourself Out
Naturally, none of this is set in stone, and we’ll all probably be laughing at the way we used to do resumes in just five years from now. Regardless, there are a few standards that should be considered and often adhered to when it comes to creating your own resume in 2016. It’s still a vastly important document in the interviewing and applying process, so don’t skimp. Give it your best, study up, and know that you’ll be fine. That dream career is waiting just beyond the next horizon.