By Lisa Chapman
The purpose of the resume is to get you an interview, not necessarily to get you the job. Would you buy a car without a test drive? Companies want to test drive you, too. Your resume should tell a story, from beginning to end and answer these questions: Who are you? What have you done? What makes you special? Why should we hire you?
How long should the resume be? As long as it needs to be, and as short as needed to keep the reader’s attention. Only give them enough information to make them want to keep reading. It can be very tempting to try and stuff in every bit of information about you and your achievements into your resume. Don’t. Your resume is a marketing document, not a “career obituary” of everything you’ve done and everywhere you’ve worked. Consider that in today’s world of smart phones and iPads, a shorter resume is more easily read by mobile devices.
Resumes help you by showing potential employers that you are the right candidate for the position. Stand out from the crowd with a stellar resume. Words have power. Make your resume more powerful by using action verbs in your accomplishment statements. Resumes should always focus on results. Don’t write job descriptions. Don’t just describe what you did, but actually give concrete results that you achieved. Use captivating titles and strong keywords to draw the reader’s attention and to create a standout impression of you as a job candidate. Yes, you often only get one chance to make a first impression. Your resume is your first chance to make a good impression on a hiring manager.
- Don’t lie on your resume. Get hired because you are the right person for the job, not because you said the right things on your resume. Proofread your resume carefully to make sure that it is error-free.
- Don’t forget how your resume looks. Even if you have the correct information on your resume, if the format isn’t outstanding, it may not get read or appeal to the hiring manager and you may not get an interview.
- Never use your current employer’s contact information on your resume — and that includes using your work email address.
- Make sure you update your resume every six months to keep it up-to-date, adding recent positions, additional responsibilities and accomplishments, as well as new skills, and education.
- Don’t try to use the same resume to apply for different types of jobs. For example, you can’t use the same resume for sales jobs or procurement positions. Or the same resume for nursing jobs and pharmaceutical sales roles. Make sure you keep a record of the resumes you’ve sent.
When you send out a resume, make a note of when to follow-up. The purpose of the resume and is to get you in the door. Your resume must get past the gatekeeper, whose job it is to screen paper out, not in. Once that happens, these documents have done their job.