Are you on the market for a new job? Looking to switch industries? The most important step in the career planning process is to have a great resume – you won’t get the job if your resume isn’t good enough to get you in the door. Below are five tips that will help you create a dynamic resume:
- Emphasize specific accomplishments. With today’s competitive job market, it is not enough to say that you managed 50 people. In addition to listing your title and duties at each job, include your accomplishments. Did you win any awards? Did you land any big clients? What did you do to make your department or organization better? What problems did you help your clients solve? You have many skills … how did you apply those skills to produce results? Be specific!
- Utilize an executive profile section. Make your resume stand out by telling the reader, at a glance, about your background and skills. Use this information, often as bullet points, at the top of the resume. Show the talents you have that relate to the needs of the targeted company. Don’t brag … just be factual about your experience and your strongest attributes. Get the reader interested in learning more about you.
- Remember, it’s all relative. If you are applying for a writing position, don’t emphasize your courtroom skills. Focus on your accurate, persuasive writing abilities, your ability to produce work under pressure and the range of your writing: motions, briefs, appeals, opinion letters and so on. Keep the experience and accomplishments you list on your resume relative to the job for which you are applying … otherwise, it won’t seem like you are focused.
- Formatting is important. The way you design your resume is critical. An effective resume is not just about substance, it is also about form. You want it to be eye catching, as well as easy to read. Leave plenty of white space in the margins. Use headings. Use bullets, but sparingly – too many bullets defeat their purpose. Also, try to stay away from the standard templates that come with MSWord – everyone uses these templates so all of the resumes tend to look the same. Get your own identity!
- Edit, edit, edit! Does your resume have any typos? Are you sure? Don’t trust your “spell-checker” program: “then” and “than” are both spelled correctly, but may be used incorrectly in one of your sentences. Have a friend look your resume over with a fresh set of eyes, because there may be something that you are missing. Having just one typo on your resume will almost certainly eliminate you as a candidate for a job.
Career planning and job search takes a bit of work; don’t be afraid to tinker with your resume before sending it out.