First impressions count! A great resume makes searching for a job easy, while an ineffective resume will leave you with nothing to show from hundreds of applications. Applying to a job without a good resume guide is a waste of time and can add months (or even years) to your job search, leaving you frustrated and demotivated. The following is a guide to creating a stand-out resume.
Your resume should be written with the intention to solve a problem that an employer has. It is one of the most important tools for securing an interview, which will ultimately a job offer.
There are three standard resume types.
• Chronological: Focuses on work experience in reverse chronological order.
• Functional: Focuses on skills and experience, and not chronological work history. Used by people with gaps in employment or are changing careers.
• Combination: Enables you to highlight the skills and experiences that are relevant, while still showing work history in the format that employers prefer.
Does your resume pass the 6-second test? Once it does, you still need to hold their attention to make it to the next steps.
Your resume needs to be sharply focused, compelling, and entirely relevant. Think of your resume as the forward to a book.
Before Writing your Resume
Have a clear goal before writing your resume. Employers want to know what you want to do; it’s not their job to figure that out. Take the time to define a goal (or multiple goals) before writing your resume
Be Clear About Who You Are
Are you a Software Engineer? Financial Analyst? Administrative Assistant?
Be sure to include this critical information right up front, as a headline or in the first sentence of your introduction. Your goal is to immediately communicate to employers the essential information that creates the context for everything else they will read in your resume.
For example, if you define yourself as a “Sales Professional,” employers will be looking for key qualifications such as sales results, communication skills, relationship-building abilities, territory management experience, and so on.
If you define yourself as an “Accountant,” they’ll be looking for something entirely different accounting and finance experience, knowledge of accounting software, attention to detail, and strong analytical skills.
Paint the Picture of an Ideal Candidate
Study the job description and decipher what problems the employer wants solved. Employers don’t care about you. They care about solving their problems. This is the only reason why they are posting a job.
Write down a brief description of the ideal applicant in the third person, all the way down to what they’re wearing. This will help you decide how to represent yourself when creating your resume.
Having defined your “ideal self,” consider what information you can place “front and center” on your resume to support your claim. What credentials, qualifications, experiences, knowledge, and accomplishments do you possess that will prove you are, in fact, an effective Marketing Management Professional?
Your goal is to create a “snapshot,” a capsule portrait that conveys the most essential information to your readers. You want to quickly portray that you are an ideal candidate for the types of jobs you are pursuing.
Preparing Your Resume
In your job search, you will need a couple versions of your resume. This will help you tailor your submissions if you are skilled in more than one area of expertise. For example you have customer service experience but also have worked in administrative support roles.
• Select a resume version that closing matches the position you are applying for.
• Optimize your resume keywords for applicant tracking systems, make certain that you have a robust skills section that contains hard technical and soft skills.
• Maintain consistency throughout your resume.
To make this easy, start by building a Master Resume to work from. This will be an ever-evolving resume that contains all your work history, accomplishments, and skills that you can tailor for each application.