We all know that virtually every job you apply for will require you to submit a resume. A resume is a snapshot of you as a worker. Your entire career is encapsulated within a 1-2 page document. Sound fair? It’s not. But it’s the truth.
The challenge becomes creating a 1-2 page document that convinces the person reading your resume that you are worth an interview. How many times have you told yourself “If I could only get an interview, I could convince them that I should have the job…”
We all feel like that to some degree. The most difficult part is “getting your foot in the door”. So how do you create a resume that will lead to an interview?
Here are the basics.
Header: Simple and Clean
All they really need to know here is your name, mailing address, email address and phone number. And please, please, please create a professional email address. firstname.lastname@example.org will earn your resume a spot in the trash bin.
It’s also not a good idea to put your email address or phone number for your current employer here. Just be smart about this.
Career Objective: Not Necessary
Why am I including this here? Because virtually every resume I have reviewed in the past five years has an objective listed, and I have never paid attention to a single one. If you are applying for a position that I am hiring, I would assume that your objective is to work in that field. If it is not, or you have no experience in the field, then your job history will reflect this, and you will not get an interview.
Take this as an opportunity to shorten your resume, and erase this section completely!
Education: Simple and Clean…..notice the trend?
If you have a bachelors, masters, or other advanced degree you should list them here. Be sure to give the degree specifics and notate where the degree is from. Your GPA is not necessary. Employers really do not care.
Work Experience: Show What You Have to Offer
The biggest mistake I see in listing work experience on a resume is that most people simply run down with a bullet point list and tick off everything they have done at every job they have ever had. This is boring, and will not lead to an interview.
You have to interpret your own work and point out what you have to offer a prospective employer. You know yourself the best, and you are most familiar with your skills and abilities. You are the best person to decipher your work experience and point out the ways that you can impress your next employer.
For example, you could list “Created database for customer service statistics, and captured this data over six month period” That sounds impressive and time consuming, but what does it actually tell an employer?
What if you listed it as this “Took initiative to create customer service database to generate data which was used by management to result in metric driven change” You are essentially saying the same thing, but you say that you took on your own project, and that your work was used by management in a key way. This is gold for a prospective employer.
You absolutely must make your resume personal, and keep it updated. The more specific and personal your resume is, the more it is likely to get viewed a second time.
Also, be sure to take every opportunity to point out what you can do for a specific company. After all, that is what they are looking for in a candidate anyway!