Resume Review: Hints, Don’ts and Advice For A Perfect Resume.
Resume Review: Hints, Don’ts and Advice For A Perfect Resume
The start of a new year is a great time to review your resume. Maybe you are ready for a move or just want to be ready. Has your job duties changed? Is it time to update your accomplishments? Is it time to cut some of the old and add new? Whatever is going on, start the year with an updated resume. In today’s job market, you must customize your resume for each job. Updating now, will make this easier for you. New Year, New You, New Job!
- It’s an advertisement for you, not your autobiography. Your resume is your chance to call attention to yourself for a particular job. Customize your resume for each opportunity.
- One-page resume or more? It’s your choice. Just be specific, concise and to the point. You want the reader to see that you have the background and to want to meet you.
- No gimmicks please. Gimmicks may get attention but they won’t make up for a sub-par resume. They do not transmit online well either.
- Formatting is important. It makes your resume easier to read/scan and it provides the reader with a roadmap to follow – all your titles, dates etc.will be in the same place. If you are submitting a resume online be careful of your margins. You don’t know how a computer scanner is set so leave at least a 1” margin all around. Since you don’t know the age or eyesight of the reader, use an easy to read typeface. Whitespace makes a resume easier to read and can highlight your keywords.
- Objectives are out, summaries are in. Unless you have specific objective and will only consider that type of job, use a career summary – a short concise pitch about you and what you have to offer.
- Update, Update, Update. Each job is a little different. Before you send out a resume update or tweak it for each job position.
- Resumes are written in past tense. You may opt to put your current job in present tense but the rest is in past tense.
- A resume is a marketing tool. Use it that way. It’s the paper that shows what you have achieved to take you to the next step in your career. It’s not a job description.
- Don’t lie. Titles, dates, compensation, education are all very east to check.
- Computers are often the first readers of resumes. They will scan for keywords. It is important that you use the keywords from an ad or job description in your resume. Otherwise, a human may never see your resume.
- References on request. This is a given. Don’t waste a line on your resume with it.
- Your resume is yours. It represents you and it is how you sell yourself. You can’t please all the people all the time. Listen to others and may changes if they work for you.
- The GoodVideo Resume can:
- Express intangible qualities that can’t come across on paper.
- Present a candidate’s social skills.
- Give the hiring manager an immediate and visual presentation of the candidate.
- The BadVideo Resume can also:
- Put too much emphasis on the visual appearance.
- Increase discrimination opportunities.
- Not be embraced by hiring managers and, therefore, be ignored.
What to Put on Your Resume
- Your name, address, telephone numbers and email address. Identify your phone numbers if you are putting more than one (cell, business, home, message etc.) If you are looking for a job out of town and want to be relocated, put your full address on the top, as usual. If you are looking for a position where you have a residence or a place to stay lined up, use the local address. Also, remember to check the email box and voice mail you list regularly.
- In your description, put the company/agency name with a short explanation of the nature of the organization. Hiring managers might not be familiar with your employer or you may be working in a specific product unit of a large conglomerate.
- If you are working for an agency, list your clients or expertise within a specific industry.
- Under education, list the school, degree and dates. You might not want to put graduation dates fearing ageism will come into play. However, not having any dates makes your resume ‘suspicious’ and can make you look even older than you are.
- If you are fluent in language (s) or have knowledge of specific or technical computer programs, do list them.
- Current Board/Committee memberships can show interest in your field or in philanthropic areas. These should go on your resume.
What Not to Put on Your Resume
- Don’t list any personal information such as birthdays, marital status etc. While this is common practice outside of the U.S., it is not done here.
- Keep the names of your references on a separate sheet and give them out when asked. First you don’t want to give out personal information or put it out online and secondly, remember that you always want to speak with your references to tell them who will be calling and the nature of the job before they get the call.
- Salary information does not belong on the resume. If a job is asking for salary history, it should go in your cover letter.
- Don’t include any activities that are not relevant. Long lists of past Boards/Committees or sports that do not pertain to your job search should not be included.
- Photographs should not be included on the resume. Again, while this is common outside the U.S., it is not done here.
- Use an objective if you are looking for a specific opportunity within a specific discipline. Examples:
- A senior-level communications position within a global consumer company.
- Social and digital media specialist position within a healthcare agency.
- Interested in furthering my career with an agency that focuses on international direct marketing.
- Summary paragraphs are better for experienced, multi-disciplined professionals. Examples:
- Extensive management experienced in integrated marketing, including work with global consumer products company and a major financial services company.
- Over 10 years of experience in public relations with a special emphasis directing media relations, social media, crises and issues, management and financial communications.
- Fifteen years experience in communications. Specialties include investor relations, public policy issues and crisis communications.
- When writing your Objective/Summary statement, remember:
- It’s OK not to have one.
- If using an Objective, it should be as specific as possible.
- The objective of a resume is to find employment so don’t put this in your statement.
- Summary statements should be brief and to-the-point. Ideally 2 to 3 sentences.
- Statements should contain the information you want the reader to see and cover the disciplines you want to highlight.
- Examples of what not to do include:
- I am a confident, insightful and responsive professional.
- I am seeking employment with a well-established inter-national corporation.
- I want to play a leadership role in a marketing/communications capacity.
- Seeking a dynamic, versatile and challenging position utilizing strategic thinking.
Sending Your Resume
- When emailing a resume, keep punctuation out of the subject line. Question marks and exclamation points can instantly send your resume to a spam box or make the reader feel that it’s junk mail.
- If you aren’t sure how to send your resume, cut and paste into the body of the email and also attach it. Some recruiters and hiring managers do not like to open documents. If you can reach someone on the hiring side, ask for their preferences.
- Don’t keep sending resumes every time you see an ad. If you update your resume, let the recipient know it’s an update and what you changed when re-sending.
- Referred by someone? Put it upfront of your email. Referrals usually get priority from a reader.
When Applying Online
- Follow the directions on the site. Leaving unanswered questions will cause your application to be rejected.
- Do not use abbreviations (e.g., mgr. vs manager). Use standard capitalization and punctuation.
- Be aware that an overly formatted resume may not be accepted.
- Graphics and logos can garble.
- Provide keywords with context. Make sure your keywords are listed in the resume, but also frame them with descriptive material within the text.
- If your resume is not accepted, try calling HR. A sympathetic recruiter, coordinator or even IT person might be able to tell you why.
- If you have too much to cover on your resume, consider using an Addendum Page. Remember, an ideal resume is two pages long and never over three pages. Addendums are perfect when you have:
- Information that is too lengthy for your resume.
- Information that may be of interest to some, but not all,of your resume recipients.
- Communication professions should consider using this approach to list:
- Significant media hits
- Published works
- Volunteer career skills