If you want a job, you need a resume. It’s that simple. Even if your best friend’s mom is the CEO of Viacom, you still need one. More specifically, you need a Professional Resume.
Sound easy? It’s not.
Unfortunately, by the time the majority of people realize they should seek the assistance of a professional resume service, it seems like it’s almost too late. By then, they’ve already combed the Craigslist, Monster and Dice job listings and sent their defective resume to tens, if not hundreds of potential employers. Fast-forward to several weeks later and unsurprisingly – still no interviews.
But it’s never too late! At this point, there are two options: Take the time to learn how to properly prepare this superior career tool or just hire a professional resume service to do it for you.
Look, this is your career we’re talking about. One spelling or grammatical error will drop your resume into the circular filing cabinet (a.k.a. trashcan). In fact, if you don’t include the key search terms employers continuously use for popular online job search engines, then they won’t even have a chance to SEE your resume! You can’t hit a homerun if you don’t get to step up to the plate! While we strongly recommend contacting a professional resume service, we know some of you are adamant about doing it yourselves and we are here to help.
Read on for a few important tips. Also, please review our sample resumes to get a more detailed idea of what your resume should look like.
Keep it to one sentence, spanning no more than two to three lines, basically informing your future employer of your career goals. Be specific about your skills. And this is NOT the time to be humble. If you have strong communication skills, state it; if you’re an accomplished leader, state it. When it comes to the job title, be careful not to be too specific unless you are absolutely sure you know exactly what you want to do. Or you can tailor the job title to each position you are applying for (but be VERY careful not to mix and match the job titles and potential employers!!!)
This is one of the most integral yet overlooked sections of the resume. If an Objective is your tag line, the Profile is your introduction. It tells the employer what you feel are your strongest qualities, and what to have to offer to the company. We have found it to be most effective for a resume to contain anywhere from three to six bullet points under Profile.
If you’ve got it, flaunt it! If you were an integral member behind a large merger, it should be in the resume. If you’ve achieved or exceeded your sales quota, this is where it should be. But let us caution you: Do NOT confuse professional achievements with job duties. You were required to perform your job duties; even though YOU may think those duties were extra important, it may not be considered an achievement.
This is the most important section of any resume. While there are variations of style, font and substance, generally, it should be in chronological order. It should contain the employer name (unless it’s confidential), the years of employment, job title, and job descriptions. Not only is this section the most important, BUT it is the portion of the resume that most do-it-yourselfers get WRONG. It is NOT a report, it is NOT a summary, and it is NOT a paragraph; it is a DESCRIPTION. The best advice we can give you is to review as many samples as you can. (Feel free to take a look at some of our samples!)
EDUCATION & PROFESSIONAL TRAINING
If you’ve authored 50 different articles or publications, you should put them on a separate sheet which is NOT attached to your resume. On your resume itself, indicate “Additional articles or publications available upon request.” If you have more achievements then you can count on both hands and feet, the same rule applies. Depending on the extent of your education and professional training, these can usually be grouped together. If you’ve taken a zillion ongoing education and management or sales training courses, you do not have to list all of them. You may include a statement such as “Select List” or similar verbiage.
Ask any two professional resume writers, and they will tell you two different things. With that said, trust us: one page max. Your interviewer wants to have one page in front of her or him and one sheet only. (Think of it this way – if a potential employer loses the second page of your resume or it becomes detached for some reason, do you think he or she will take the time to call you and ask for another copy? Or if the potential employer has 20 resumes to go through and it’s 5pm on a Friday. When he or she comes to your 2-page resume with 8 pt. font and .25″ margins, do you think your potential employer will be happy? Exactly.)