Studies show that recruiters spend less than 30 seconds screening a resume. Within that time, they assess how an applicant can add value to their organization. Therefore, a resume should capture their attention within seconds with your unique experience and qualifications. Read on for tips that will help you do just that.
1. INCLUDE A JOB OBJECTIVE
Do you include a job objective? Most resumes now start with a summary of how one is uniquely qualified for the job by giving a snapshot of the breadth and depth of the applicant’s experience. Without exaggerating, tailor fit this portion to meet the requirements of the job opening. Include expertise, technical skills, and most valued employee personality traits. This gives recruiters an idea of the value you can offer their organizations.
If you choose to start off with a career summary, you may mention your job objective in the accompanying cover letter. You may include a job objective in you resume, but avoid making it self-serving or limiting. Highlight credentials rather than stating what you want from an employer.
2. LIST YOUR CREDENTIALS.
Start by letting the recruiter know how far you have reached in your career by listing your last or current position and employer. Continue to list the previous positions you occupied before, starting with the job immediately prior to your current one and ending with your first employment. List the inclusive dates you were employed for each position, avoiding gaps between periods of employment when you can. Unless you are a recent graduate, work experience is more important than educational attainment, so place educational attainment after this section. Some candidates prefer to highlight skills rather than chronologically list their previous employment. This is called a functional resume. Though useful in highlighting areas of expertise, a functional resume is less popular than a chronological one.
3. CITE YOUR CONTRIBUTIONS AS WELL AS YOUR JOB FUNCTIONS.
There are things you can do to make your resume stand out compared to the others recruiters receive. After listing your position, title, and inclusive dates of employment, go beyond describing your job function by including how well you handled those responsibilities, with quantifiable results. Include what was achieved during your stint in that role. Use strong action verbs such as “led,” “initiated, and “drove,” rather than “coordinated” or “observed.” This emphasizes how instrumental you were in your organization.
4. KEEP IT CLEAN.
Unless you are applying for a job in the creative field, keep the resume straightforward and professional looking. Use plain bond paper with simple black font; Times New Roman and Arial are the safest options. Use proper margins and resist the urge to underline, bold, or italicize too much to avoid a cluttered-looking document.
5. DON’T PROVIDE UNNECESSARY INFORMATION
Too much info? There’s no need to include the following in your resume:
- Your photo, vital statistics, weight, or height
Unless you are applying for a position where looks matter, such as front line or service staff, your physical characteristics should have no bearing on your qualifications.
- Civil status, religious orientation, children, hobbies, and the like
This type of information may prejudice the recruiter for or against you, and the line between “pro” and “con” is a thin, uncertain one, so it’s best not to include these details. If needed, the recruiter will gather this information upon meeting you.
Depending on how many years of work experience you have, training or seminars attended are usually noted only in more technical fields or if you are new at your career. Your accomplishments play a more critical role in convincing your employer that you are qualified for the job than a three-day seminar you attended.
These are provided at the end of the interview process. Give your prospective references ample warning that they may be contacted by your prospective employer. Make sure you ask them to be your references before you go into the interview and update any contact details you might need for them.
(First published as “Revive Your Resumé” in the Career Counsel column in the Good Money section of Good Housekeeping Philippines’ September 2011 issue. Adapted for use in Female Network. Photo by Mike Dee.)